Regular Season Recap: Thunder at Spurs

THUNDER 96

SPURS 107
4 Blocked shots by Kevin Durant tonight, tying his season high

5Consecutive games with a double-double for Kevin Durant, who had 22 points and 11 rebounds

6 Made 3-pointers by Daequan Cook and Reggie Jackson combined

6 Players in double figures for the Thunder tonight (Kevin Durant, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Daequan Cook, Serge Ibaka and Reggie Jackson

12 Total blocked shots by the Thunder, 1 shy of its season-high

12 Number of players who saw action tonight for the Thunder

18 Points for Russell Westbrook, to go along with his 6 rebounds and 6 assists

19 Points for James Harden to go along with his 5 rebounds and 4 assists

The Thunder will continue its road trip when it faces the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night. Game time is 9:00 p.m. Central and will air live on Fox Sports Oklahoma and the Thunder Radio Network.

The Thunder keeps moving forward in its stretch of eight of nine games on the road. After the game against the Blazers, the Thunder will play at Golden State on Tuesday, Sacramento on Thursday and Utah on Friday.

GAME IN REVIEW


RECAP:
A hot-shooting effort from 3-point land and an inspired performance by Tony Parker was enough to give the Spurs a substantial lead over the Thunder through three quarters, one that was too much for a resilient Thunder club to recover from. Head Coach Scott Brooks gave credit where it was due after the game, noting that the Thunder didn't have answers to the Spurs' two major advantages on the night- its accuracy from long distance and the pick-and-roll play of Parker.

"They beat us in all areas of the game," Brooks said. "I thought Tony Parker had his way with us. It's all about stopping the basketball and we didn't do a very good job of that. It's on all of us, including myself to figure out how to do a better job of containing their pick and roll. Tony Parker was good tonight. That was as aggressive as I've seen him in a long time. 29 shots, he's usually not that aggressive, but he had a great game going and we had trouble containing him."

Guard Russell Westbrook was one of six Thunder players to score in double figures, but early on he and the rest of the Thunder couldn't keep the Spurs at bay, allowing 63 points in the second and third quarters combined. With 21 assists on 37 made baskets, the Spurs were able to move the ball effectively and find open shooters in the corner, as Westbrook noted.

"They moved the ball well," Westbrook said. "They got in the paint, swung the ball with quickness and we were a step late... It's a tough place to play, I think they might have the best home record in the league. We just didn't get off to the start we wanted to defensively."

With the starters on the bench late in the third quarter and in the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Thunder was able to cut the Spurs lead to single digits particularly behind the 3-point shooting of Daequan Cook and effective play of rookie point guard Reggie Jackson, who finished with 10 points and 3 assists. While the bench ultimately wasn't able to totally make up the deficit, its efforts made it a game when the starters re-entered the contest and provided Brooks' squad with a major boost.

"They gave us some hope, that's what teams are about," Brooks said. "Everybody has to chip in when they get the opportunity. Give them a lot of credit, they didn't put their heads down and they went in there and plugged away and made the game somewhat competitive going into the fourth quarter."

In all, the Thunder bench scored 33 points tonight, with Lazar Hayward and Cole Aldrich also getting into the act. The Thunder went on a big run starting with 2:00 left in the third quarter until mid-way through the fourth quarter as it reduced a 24-point deficit to single digits. Unfortunately for Westbrook and the starters, it was too little, too late once they returned for the final minutes.

"We have the best bench in the league," Westbrook said. "They did a good job of fighting back and we just tried to come in and finish, but weren't able to do it."

TURNING POINT:
While the Spurs staved off a late Thunder run to cut the lead to single digits in the fourth quarter, Coach Brooks said the turning point in this one was midway through the first quarter when the Spurs hit three straight 3-point jump shots, including two from rookie Kawhi Leonard. It was a 13-8 Thunder lead with 6:47 left in the first quarter when Richard Jefferson hit a 3-pointer followed by two Leonard 3-pointers, which gave the Spurs a 17-13 lead. During the stretch the Thunder missed five consecutive shots, and that quick 9-0 burst changed the mood of the evening and led to a hot-shooting night for the Spurs from downtown.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
Perfect defensive stop on the Spurs' first possession, forcing a long two-point jump shot at the end of the shot clock... Great job by Daequan Cook to tip a loose ball to Serge Ibaka... Beautiful dump-off pass from Kevin Durant to Ibaka for a dunk... Russell Westbrook being very active on the defensive end... Amazing no-look pass from Durant to Ibaka off a screen and roll for an alley-oop... Ibaka taps an offensive rebound back to the top of the key to give the Thunder an extra possession... Unbelievable scoop shot by Durant to score just before the shot clock expired... Nice hustle by James Harden and Reggie Jackson to get after a loose ball... Acrobatic blocked shot by Kendrick Perkins, which led to a run-out that featured a cross-court pass from Jackson to Cook for a 3-pointer... Two steals by Nick Collison then a great backdoor pass to set up a Harden dunk... Perkins setting a great pick up top for Harden to finish with a scoop shot... Ibaka with a huge swat on Tim Duncan at the rim... Nice hustle by Westbrook to grab a loose rebound then knock down a pull up jump shot on the other end... Some good hustle on back-to-back plays by Westbrook and Durant, then KD with a beautiful no-look pass... Athletic put-back dunk by Westbrook to slam home a Durant miss… Tough defense by Perkins on Duncan to force a miss.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Two nice passes from Westbrook, one to Durant on a curl and another after a Perkins block to Ibaka... Nice pass inside from Westbrook to Durant to needle it through traffic... Then a block by Cook on the other end... Nice cut by Harden to open himself up for a jump shot... Good effort by Harden to rise up for a defensive rebound... A great drive and dish from Durant to Jackson for a 3-pointer... Hustle play by Cook to follow up his own miss and draw a foul... Another driving assist by Durant, this time to Cook for a 3-pointer, then Durant follows it up with a block to close out the quarter... Cook with another block, giving him two on the night and five in the last two games... A nice running leaner in the lane for Jackson... Harden with a drive and dish to Jackson for a 3-pointer… Good hustle by Lazar Hayward to wrangle a loose rebound… A great screen from Collison to give Cook another open look from 3-point land… Good job of corralling the rebound by Cook after Durant challenged a Spurs shot… Thunder playing with a sense of urgency in the fourth quarter… A pretty dish from Jackson to Cole Aldrich for a dunk… Good defensive principles by Hayward to draw a charge.