Game Recap: Spurs 109, Thunder 105

News and notes from the Thunder’s 109-105 loss to the San Antonio Spurs

    The Spurs rained threes, flooding the Thunder with 13 makes from long range. That’s one off a season-high for opponent 3-pointers and that proved to be the difference. The Spurs shot 61.9 percent (13-for-21) from beyond the arc. Oklahoma City was 7-for-24 (29.2 percent).
    “The first half was just ridiculous,” Thunder Coach Scott Brooks said. “They hit eight of their first 11. I thought in the second half it was better, we did a good job of staying with our man.”
  • Great first quarter for the Thunder, 37 points. Spurs defense came alive, though, in the second, limiting OKC to 16. Over the last eight minutes of the second quarter, the Spurs outscored the Thunder, 30-12, including a 17-2 run to end the half after a flagrant foul was called on Nick Collison and double-technicals were whistled on Kevin Durant and Tim Duncan.
    “I thought the game changed after that play, the intensity really cranked up. They got going right after that, but we really stepped it up in the second half. I love it when we display toughness,” Brooks said.

  • Down 11 points at halftime and eight points to start the fourth, the Thunder battled back to take a 96-94 lead halfway through the fourth quarter.

    “I’m proud of the way came back.” Brooks told reporters, “They’re the best team in basketball, we have respect for them but I’m proud of our guys for battling back. We played the best team in the league on their home floor and we played them down to the wire.”

    “We put ourselves in position to win,” said Kevin Durant, “but give them credit. It would have been a big win for us but we can’t hang our heads, we have to move on to the next one.”

PLAYS THE BOX SCORE WON’T SHOW: Nifty move from Russell Westbrook in the second quarter, dribbling out on the left wing then driving to the free-throw line where his progress was stopped by the Spurs. Russ then raised up and fired a shot off the glass and in. Westbrook has the ability to make defenses collapse into the lane trying to stop him, then he’s strong enough to either muscle a shot up and get fouled or fire a pass to an open man. ... Nick Collison, after being whistled for a flagrant foul on Tony Parker that led to a brief skirmish, stole the ball from Parker on the very next possession. ... Thunder defense started well in the third. Westbrook almost stole the ball from Ginobili, who somehow was able to pass to Parker but the Thunder had three men stuffing the lane and Parker was stopped and the ball was stolen...Serge Ibaka didn’t steal the ball in the third quarter from the Spurs Gary Neal but he did force a turnover. Neal drove into the lane and encountered Ibaka. Neal didn’t shoot because he was afraid of getting his shot blocked and then he traveled. ...The Thunder seldom gave Tim Duncan any open looks. In the fourth quarter, Duncan drove the lane but was fouled by Durant. Duncan then missed both free throws. ... In the last seconds of the game Durant gets the ball to the right of the lane, is double-teamed, then fires a pass to a streaking Serge Ibaka, who slams it home bring the Thunder to within one.

STATS WORTH REPEATING: Serge Ibaka finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds, including six offensive boards. ... Oklahoma City out-rebounded San Antonio, 54-37. ... The Thunder had another great night at the foul line, going 24-for-27 (88.9 percent). ...The 37 points the Thunder scored in the first quarter are a season-high for a Spurs opponent. ... James Harden has scored in double figures in seven of the last eight games.

LAST WORD: “I’m proud of our guys for battling back,” Brooks said, “we played through a lot of adversity but it’s not about being close in this league and we just didn’t get it done tonight.”

UP NEXT: The Thunder will practice in San Antonio on Thursday morning before flying to Orlando for Friday night’s game with the Magic. Tip-off is 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Oklahoma and the Thunder Radio Network.