Regular Season Recap: Spurs vs Thunder

SPURS 96

THUNDER 108
0 Shots missed by Thabo Sefolosha in the first quarter. He was 3-for-3 from  the field (2-for-2 from 3) and 1-for-1 from the line for a quarter-high nine points.

1 Days off for the Thunder, which of course does not include travel to Memphis.

3 Victories in as many days for the Thunder.

4 Lead changes in the game.

6 Thunder players with double-figure scoring totals – Durant 21, Harden 20, Westbrook 13, Collison 12, Jackson 11, Ibaka 10.

10 Free throws attempted and made by Kevin Durant. … Also the number of rebounds by Durant.

11:38 Minutes and seconds played by Nick Collison in the first half, one of the most efficient complete performances a fan will see. Collison had 10 points on 5-for-6 shooting, six rebounds (three offensive), two steals and numerous tips, screens and defensive rotations.

21-10-7-1 The stats line (points, rebounds, assists, steals) for Kevin Durant.

25 Assists by the Thunder, a season high.

37 Points the Thunder scored in the third quarter, a season high.

41.7 Shooting percentage by the Spurs.

48 Rebounds by the Thunder, four more than the Spurs.



The Thunder heads to Memphis on Monday for a game Tuesday night against the Grizzlies. Game time is 7 p.m. and will air live from FedEx Forum on Fox Sports Oklahoma and the Thunder Radio Network.

This will be the fourth game in five days for the Thunder. And the pace doesn’t slow up. Immediately after the game, the Thunder will board a flight to New Orleans for a game Wednesday against the Hornets.

“One of the things we do well is worry only about the next game,” Brooks said. “That’s one of the reasons why we were successful with this stretch of games.”

GAME IN REVIEW

RECAP:
The Thunder became the first team in the NBA this season to win a back-to-back-to-back stretch of games and it did so by following the road map created by Head Coach Scott Brooks.

The Thunder wants to be a team that defends, rebounds and puts pressure on opposing teams with its transition offense.

The Thunder did exactly that while showing zero signs of fatigue or exhaustion in running past the San Antonio Spurs, 108-96, in a physical matchup Sunday night before another sold-out crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

“I thought we had good energy. The defense was really good, the offense was moving the ball and we were getting out in transition,” Brooks said. “But you have to put things in proper perspective. (Spurs guard Manu) Ginobili is a big part of their team and he didn’t play. A few other guys didn’t play. This was their fourth game in five nights. I thought our guys played extremely hard and defensively we were really good.”

The Thunder showed no signs of playing its third game in as many nights, particularly in the third quarter, when it turned what was a three-point lead into a 91-69 advantage heading into the final 12 minutes.

“Our energy was good and our competitive spirit was outstanding,” Brooks said.

SPOTLIGHT ON: THIRD QTR.


TURNING POINT:
The third quarter, almost from the time the ball was inbounded. The Spurs pulled within 54-51 on a 3-pointer by Richard Jefferson, but Russell Westbrook answered just 21 seconds later and the Thunder was just getting started on what would become an 11-3 run.

It was classic Thunder Basketball, with stops on the defensive end to create fast break opportunities that the Thunder would cash in time and time again throughout the quarter. The Thunder had 13 fast-break points in the period vs. just eight for the first half.

The highlight came on the final play of the run, a beautiful alley-oop pass from Durant to Westbrook that put the Thunder in control, 65-54, and forced the Spurs to call time out.

Said Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich: “They kicked our butts in the third quarter. They did a great job.”

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
The absolute battle under the basket between Serge Ibaka (6-10, 235) and the Spurs’ DeJuan Blair (6-7, 270) on every possession. The referees are letting them play and these two are holding nothing back. … Ibaka setting a screen on Richard Jefforson, allowing Kevin Durant to pop free and nail an 18-foot jumper. … Ibaka coming over to help Kendrick Perkins and altering the shot of Tim Duncan. Ibaka then tips the ball once and grabs the rebound, which sends the Thunder racing the other way. The possession ends in a Thabo Sefolosha 3-point jumper from the corner to tie the game at 11-11. … Nick Collison using both hands to keep the ball alive before finally securing the rebound. … Nazr Mohammed setting a pick at the top of the key on the Spurs’ Danny Green, allowing James Harden to freely drive the lane for an easy two. … Mohammed with a no-look pass to a cutting Collison for an easy basket, forcing a Spurs time out. … Collison with a spin move to free himself at the top of the key for a two-hand dunk. … Ibaka leaping over both Blair and Duncan for an offensive rebound and put-back basket. … Ibaka rejecting the dunk attempt of Duncan. … Durant earning perhaps the toughest two points of his career. After grabbing a defensive rebound, Durant hits the floor and Blair falls on him in an attempt for a jump ball. A foul is called, sending Durant to the line for two free throws, which he makes. Thunder leads 54-45.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Sefolosha sacrificing his body on the glass and along the baseline to keep a Thunder possession alive. The effort didn’t result in a score, but it underscores Thunder Basketball. … An absolute beautiful block by Ibaka on a Duncan drive. … Westbrook leading a fast break with Durant on his right and Ibaka right behind. Westbrook fakes to Durant, bounces the ball to Ibaka who rises to the basket, is fouled but makes the shot as he crashes to the floor. Ibaka makes the free throw for a 71-59 lead. … Sefolosha gets his hands in the Spurs’ passing lane and Westbrook comes up with the ball and the Thunder is off and running. Westbrook feeds Durant, who is fouled on his drive to the basket. His two free throws make it 79-63. … Cole Aldrich following a Jackson drive to the basket and slamming home the missed shot.

QUOTABLE:
“Perk starts that intensity. He brings everything he’s got to the game. … He’s about toughness, the spirit of competition.” – Brooks, when asked if the Spurs’ physical style of play would help the Thunder in advance of its game Tuesday in Memphis.