The Oklahoma City Thunder picked up a solid 104-94 win over the visiting San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night. The win helped the Thunder in their quest for homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs, and it moved them into fifth for the time being.
The Thunder got off to a slow start on the offensive end as they struggled to take care of the ball, but the defense was able to clamp down on the Spurs and keep the game close. In the first quarter, Oklahoma City turned the ball over six times, but Paul George led the way with seven points, and Corey Brewer added in five. The defense held San Antonio to 42% shooting in the first period, and after twelve minutes, the Thunder was on top 24-19.
The second unit had a solid start to the second quarter, and just a little over four minutes into the quarter, the Thunder led by seven after two threes from Alex Abrines. Oklahoma City pushed that lead up to 14, but in the final few minutes, the offense struggled, and the defense gave up some easy looks. Brewer kept up his hot hand, though, as he hit a corner three with just a couple of seconds left on the clock to make him the Thunder’s leading scorer with 10 points in the half. Headed into the locker room, Oklahoma City led San Antonio 52-43.
The third quarter was going very much in favor of the Thunder as Russell Westbrook scored six points in the first three minutes of the period after putting up only five in the entire first half. His effort put the Thunder up by 10, but Steven Adams hit the deck early after rolling his ankle, and the Spurs quickly took advantage as they found easy points in the paint. San Antonio was able to cut the deficit to four, but Oklahoma City stayed focused, and Russell Westbrook was able to finish the quarter with 9 points, giving him 14 total through three quarters. With only one twelve minutes left in the game, the Thunder remained on the high side 77-68.
Oklahoma City looked as if they might run away with the game in the fourth in a weird turn of events that included Nick Collison scoring seven points in under seven minutes on the court. Midway through the fourth, the Thunder led the Spurs 93-72, and the game looked over. San Antonio had other ideas, though, and over the course of the next two minutes, the Spurs would score 11 straight points to cut the deficit to 10. They would get within seven of the Thunder, but Russell Westbrook made sure to put the game away as he found Jerami Grant open for a corner three. The assist on the three gave Westbrook his 19th triple-double of the season, the 98th of his career, as he finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists.
3 Quick Thoughts
- Corey Brewer is Proving He Belongs: When the Thunder picked up Corey Brewer from the buyout market a week-and-a-half ago, I was skeptical of the impact that he would have on this team. He looked unimpressive in 12 minutes of play in his debut game against the Portland Trail Blazers, and I was shocked to see him in the starting lineup two nights ago against the Suns. However, after back-to-back strong showings, Brewer has proved me wrong. Not only has he shown up in the box score, the energy that he brings to the floor is a contagious one, and his impact is sure to be felt in the playoffs.
- What’s Up with Paul George and Carmelo Anthony?: Both players have not played well lately, especially Anthony, but nights like tonight don’t make a lot of sense. George shot 4/16 from the floor, including 1/8 from three, and Carmelo Anthony was just 1/8, including 0/3 from three. While their shot selection was overall pretty solid, they just could not get them to fall. Both of these guys need to figure some things out before playoffs, because Oklahoma City cannot afford to have them missing wide open looks.
- The Bench is Showing Up Right On Time: The league’s lowest-scoring bench put up a season-high 50 points tonight as every player that stepped on the court scored tonight. Jerami Grant led the bench with 15 points on an efficient 5/5 from the floor and 4/7 from the free throw line, and Alex Abrines added in 11 points on 4/6 shooting, including 3/4 from three. Patrick Patterson was the third bench player to score in double digits with 10 points on 4/7. If the Thunder bench can play anywhere near this level, Oklahoma City will be able to compete with any team in the NBA.
Wrapping Up the Homestand
The Oklahoma City Thunder have one last home game in their current four-game homestand as they host the Sacramento Kings on Monday night. The Thunder leads the Kings 2-1 in the season series, and despite Oklahoma City being the better team by far, each game has been extremely close. Tip-off is set for 7 PM CT and will be televised on FSOK. The game will also be broadcast on the radio on WWLS 98.1 FM.
Be sure to check out this week’s episode of Thunder Things with the Thunder Guys.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter & Instagram, and like us on Facebook.