Spurs vs. Thunder Recap

OKLAHOMA CITY – No Tony Parker? No problem, say the San Antonio Spurs.

By the looks of the aggressive scoring battle that took place Monday night at the Ford Center, someone might think the Spurs (42-27) and Oklahoma City Thunder (42-27) were fighting for first place, rather than the actual sixth place standing in the Western Conference.

With the Spurs’ fall to the Atlanta Hawks and the Thunder’s loss to the Indiana Pacers, both teams were feeling the effects of a tough loss on the road just the day before.

Starting for San Antonio were Antonio McDyess, Richard Jefferson, George Hill, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan, with the team’s first points scored by Duncan just seconds into the first quarter. The need for either team to win was evident over the first six minutes of play as San Antonio answered each Oklahoma City basket until Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka teamed up to land the Spurs in hot water.

Ginobili helped to keep the Spurs moving, including a three-pointer at the top of the arc to give the Spurs their last lead of the first quarter, but Durant continued his own scoring spree to drive the Thunder’s numbers. Contributions by DeJuan Blair, Matt Bonner and George Hill rounded out the first 12 minutes of play which ended Thunder 34, Spurs 25.

Errors by the Spurs led to foul trouble in the second quarter, as Green and Ibaka were sent to line for a combined six (completed) free throws, giving Oklahoma City a 13-point lead with 8:21 left. Two baskets apiece by Roger Mason Jr. and Antonio McDyess paired with an effortless three-point shot by Ginobili in nearly three minutes brought San Antonio back to life.

Mason proved his worth by scored three – count ‘em, three – much-needed three-pointers in the last three minutes of the half to move San Antonio back within four points of tying the game. On a last minute shooting foul by Durant, Hill was sent to the free-throw line for three shots. A hot hand from Hill narrowed Oklahoma City’s lead to three at the half; Thunder 59, Spurs 56.

The Spurs’ halftime stats weren’t exactly spectacular, proving that shooting is still one of the team’s weakest spots; San Antonio shot 21-of-42 FG, 9-of-15 FT and 5-of-13 3-point FG. With 16 rebounds, 16 points in the paint and 20 bench points, the Spurs had their work cut out for them to overcome the Thunder in the second half.

Project Spurs’ own Jeff Garcia’s “favorite” quarter always seems to be the third, and this one wasn’t lacking in entertainment value. Ginobili, Duncan and Hill, who shined the entire game, brought the lead back to San Antonio straight out of the gate – the team’s first in nearly 20 minutes of play. After a quick comeback from Oklahoma City led by wunderkind Durant, a three-point shot from Hill tied the game yet again. Richard Jefferson’s big three-point shot oozed potential but ended up being a total bust, simply highlighting his struggles on the court.

Hill’s hot streak kicked back in just in time, as his back-to-back reverse layup and floater shots were able to put the Spurs back on top while Matt Bonner made his own three-point play contribution to give San Antonio its biggest lead of the game at seven points with less than two minutes left in the third. Durant proved yet again that he is a force to be reckoned with, sinking a basket to narrow San Antonio’s lead to five just before the buzzer; Spurs 81, Thunder 76.

San Antonio continued to maintain the lead throughout the fourth, but Oklahoma City refused to go down without a fight. Bonner and Blair combined back-to-back plays for five points to put the Spurs back on the board, but Jeff Green came back to score four points for the Thunder.

Offensive work by San Antonio shined in the middle of the fourth, as Mason gained possession and passed to Ginobili, who in turned passed off to Duncan. Seeing nowhere to go, Duncan got the ball to Bonner, who sent it right back to Ginobili. The shot clock was ticking, so Ginobili passed back to Mason, who decided to put the ball in Hill’s hands – an excellent decision as Hill fired off a three-pointer to put the Spurs back in a seven-point lead.

Another two-point floater from Hill gave the second-year veteran out of IUPUI (first reference by Bill Land and Sean Elliott; amazing that it took until the fourth) his newest career high of 27 points in a single game; his previous record of 26 points had been against Houston.

With less than four minutes left in the game, Ginobili’s big steal from Green became instant highlight reel material as he crossed the court and scored on a two-point dunk. Two baskets later, Durant reached his own career high of 45 points, but Ginobili responded by three-of-four free throws, the final points of the game.  Not even the overwhelming noise from the Oklahoma City fans could stop the Spurs, who won 99-96.

Hill led the team in scoring, followed by Ginobili‘s 21-point contribution, and Duncan and Mason with 14 and 13 points respectively. Duncan and McDyess each had 7 rebounds, while Ginobili and Hill each had five; the team had a total of 38 rebounds. The team finished with 32 points in the paint and had 43.5 percent shooting, completing 8-of-25 three-point attempts.

While the win gives the Spurs the season series win over Oklahoma City and a current sixth-place spot in the Western Conference, San Antonio faces a serious schedule the rest of the week – it all begins with the showdown versus top-of-the-Western-Conference Los Angeles Lakers in the AT&T Center at 8:30 p.m. The Spurs will face the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Eastern-Conference leaders, on Friday evening and the  Boston Celtics this Sunday.

Spurs vs. Thunder Recap

What’s this? The Spurs actually won against an above .500 team tonight? Manu Ginobili had a huge block on Kevin Durant and scored 26 points off the bench, and they snapped their two-game losing streak. 

They stopped Durant’s scoring streak of 25 or more points at 29 consecutive games and they didn’t choke away a lead and lose the game like in the 76ers game.

Final score 95-87. Spurs win! The Spurs record is now 32-23! This calls for a medal ceremony!

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Video Link

For a full game recap, be sure to visit Project Spurs tomorrow afternoon for our postgame show, in case you missed it live.

Spurs vs. Thunder Recap

After defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in San Antonio, the Spurs (23-13) next took on the Oklahoma City Thunder (21-16) in Oklahoma. The Thunder are a young, exciting team that has proven it can beat the Spurs. Last season, Spurs fans saw the Thunder defeat the Spurs which left some of us scratching our heads. This season, the Thunder have already beaten the Spurs.

This Thunder team was made by former Spurs front office man Sam Presti.  Let’s just say Presti leaving the Spurs years back still hurts.

This Thunder team, with players such as Kevin Durant, and Jeff Green, hoped to strike at the Spurs coming on the second game of a back-to-back, and pick up the win.

How did the Spurs do in OKC? Here is how it went down.

First Quarter:

Spurs started with Tony Parker, Richard Jefferson, Roger Mason, Keith Bogans and DeJuan Blair. The Spurs did not start Duncan and scratched from the game to give him rest after coming off last night’s win against the Lakers.

Blair got things going with a put back lay-up off an RJ miss. Than RJ came back with a nice dunk on the baseline. Early on the Spurs the Spurs built an early six point lead. Blair then got a block on an OKC Thunder. Blair was attacking the rim and getting to the line. as was Parker. But the story early on was Blair. He was getting the offensive rebounds and already had four. At the 6:11 point of the game it was 18-8, Spurs with the lead.

Mason then hit a three point shot and Parker was just having his way. Getting into the paint and finishing. Parker was just killing it. He then hit a corner three for the Spurs. At the 2:34 point it was 30-18, Spurs with the lead.

Parker continued to score outside. he hit a mid-range shot to help maintain the Spurs lead.  How hot was Parker? He hit another corner three for the Spurs. At the end of the second quarter it was 35-18, Spurs with the lead.

Spurs shot 58% from the field, were 75% from the three-point line, and were prefect form the free-throw line going 2-2.  Leading the way was Parker with 16 points. Blair had 12 points and seven rebounds in the first quarter.  Spurs committed two turnovers and grabbed 14 rebounds.

Second Quarter:

Spurs started with Jefferson, Ginobili, Mason, Hill and McDyess.

Hill got things started in the quarter by hitting a lay-up for the Spurs. RJ then hit another lay-up for the Spurs but on the other end Thunder James Harden got the shot to fall after Mason fouled him. The Thunder responded early on in the quarter as they chipped away at the lead forcing Pop to call a timeout. At the 9:45 point it was 39-24, Spurs with the lead.

The Thunder continued to chip away at the Spurs lead but Hill then hit a lay-up in the paint for the Spurs. McDyess then got a nice slam in the paint for the Spurs but on the other end Thunder Russell Westbrook got to the rim and picked up the “and 1″ on the Spurs. Spurs could not get the ball to fall in the basket as the Thunder kept cutting into the Spurs lead. The Spurs got cold from the field as the Thunder were hitting their shots and at the 5:52 point it was 43-36, Spurs with the lead. Thunder went on a 16-4 run to close the gap.

Hill got into the lane to hit a lay-up then Bogans hit a three-ball to keep the Thunder at bay. The Thunder finally woke up and realized no Duncan in the game tonight for the Spurs as they continued to get into the lane and attack the rim. Parker then got back into the game and made an impact. He was getting into the lane and finished. At the 2:49 point it was 54-42, Spurs with the lead.

Blair got back in the game and made another impact. Offensive rebounds, and scoring. Blair was getting it done for the Spurs in the first half. RJ then just demolished the Thunder with vicious dunk. At the half it was 63-51, Spurs with the lead.

Spurs shot 55% from the field, 40% from the three-point lead, and from the free-throw line shot 83%. Leading the way for the Spurs was Parker with 22 points. Blair got the quick double-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds. Seven of those 11 were offensive rebounds. Spurs grabbed 22 rebounds. Spurs bench scored 10 points. Spurs committed six turnovers.

Third Quarter:

Spurs started with Jefferson, Blair, Parker, Hill, and Bogans.

Thunder came out on fire and cut the Spurs lead to seven points off a 5-0 run. At the 10:50 point of the quarter it was 63-56, Spurs with the lead. Bogans was attacking the rim and Blair got a huge block on the Thunder. However the Spurs could not get things going on the offensive and defensive end as the Thunder cut into the Spurs lead and got it close to four points. The Thunder went on a 12-2 run cut the Spurs lead and at the 5:36 point it was 71-66, Spurs with the lead.

This was an ugly quarter for the Spurs as they could not get it done on either end of the court. Blair was doing all he can to keep the Spurs in the lead but the Thunder kept coming.  The Thunder were scoring in the paint and hitting their shots.  Defensively the Spurs could not stop the Thunder. Late in the quarter, OKC went on a 7-2 run which led OKC to take the lead going into the fourth quarter. At the end of three it was 77-76, Thunder with the lead.

Spurs so far shot 46% from the floor, 31% from the three-point line, and 67% from the free-throw line. They grabbed 33 boards, and committed 12 turnovers. Leading the way for SA was Parker with 22 points. Blair had 21 points and 16 boards. Spurs scored 13 points in the third.

Fourth Quarter:

Spurs started with Jefferson, McDyess, Hill, Mason, and Parker.

Spurs came out strong as RJ was got to the rim and hit an outside shot as the Spurs took the lead back early on in the quarter. Blair took it strong to the rim for two dunks off a pass from Manu on two Spurs possessions. At the 7:19 point it was 86-83, Spurs with the lead.

Blair was having a career night and in the fourth he had 27 points, 18 boards so far in the game.  Nine of those boards were offensive rebounds. At the 3:12 point it was 97-91, Spurs with the lead.

The Thunder would not go away. Westbrook picked up a double-double and Durant threw down a monster dunk on the Spurs. It was a tight game in the final minute of the game. OKC cut the lead to two points and tied the game off a dunk by Thunder Sefolosha with 57.6 seconds left in the game. Manu missed a shot at the rim and Blair grabbed his 20th board. Parker went on to nail a clutch shot with 10.3 seconds left in the game. It was 99-97, Spurs with the lead.

Thunder Russell Westbrook then hit a shot over RJ and with three seconds left in the game it was tied at 99. Spurs could not get it going on the offensive end and the game went into overtime tied at 99.

Overtime:

Spurs started with Parker, McDyess, Blair, Ginobili, and Jefferson.

Not good as early on Blair picked up his fifth foul and Thunder Durant hit the shot to take the two point lead for OKC. However, Parker then came back and nailed a three to take back the lead for the Spurs. But soon after, Blair picked up his sixth foul and was done for the game. He finished with 28 points and 21 rebounds. 10 of those rebounds were on the offensive end.

Without Blair, the Spurs were going after the rebounds. RJ picked up key offensive boards and a foul to send him to the line. He hit 1-2 from the line. The Spurs continued to get the key offensive boards for multiple chances to convert. McDyess then went 1-2 from the line and with 54 seconds 108-107, OKC with the lead.

After a botched play and the ball sailing out, Manu dove to save the ball which led to RJ hitting a cold-blooded shot in in the paint to take the lead for the Spurs at 109-108 with 9.1 seconds left in the game.

With 4.7 seconds left in the game, Thunder Westbrook took a chance to be the hero but missed the shot. Spurs win 109-108.  The Spurs record is now 24-13 and the Spurs are 1-1 so far in overtime periods this season.  The Spurs will next face the Charlotte Bobcats in Charlotte.

Shiny Spur: DeJuan Blair
Rusty Spur: Keith Bogans

Notes:

  • Spurs shot 45% from the field, 32% from the three-point line and 67% from the free-throw line.
  • Spurs committed 14 turnovers and grabbed 50 rebounds.
  • Blair had a career night becoming the first Spurs rookie to record a “20-20″ since Tim Duncan finishing the game with 28 points and 21 rebounds. 10 offensive boards.
  • As much as an off night for Manu (two points, 0-10 for the game), he did sacrifice himself as he threw himself to save the ball from going out of bounds which led to RJ making the winning basket for the Spurs. All out hustle from Manu!
  • Spurs bench finished with 31 points, led by Hill’s 16 off the bench.
  • The Spurs had a forgettable third quarter as they only scored 13.
  • Parker ended up with a nice night finishing with 28 points and hitting 3-5 three point attempts.
  • RJ finished with 13 points but went 5-12 from the floor. McDyess ended up with 13 points and nine rebounds.
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