Spurs use fourth quarter surge to top Durant, Thunder


San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich said he is viewing this five-game homestand as a ‘final exam’ for his team as the season gets closer to ending. The first test was difficult, but they passed with one final push.

Kawhi Leonard scored 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds as he led the Spurs to a 93-85 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder at the AT&T Center on Saturday night to remain undefeated at home.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 24 points, including 13 in the first quarter. Tim Duncan added 11 points and six rebounds for San Antonio, who won their 41st home game dating back to last season, which is the third longest active streak in NBA history.

The victory also saw the Spurs clinch the Southwest Division title for the fifth time in the last six seasons.

“We’re a humble ballclub,” Leonard said. “We just want to get better as each game goes as the season goes on. So, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing. It’s just about us and are we going to execute, are we going to go out and have energy and play defense. We fought through the whole game tonight.”

Oklahoma City (44-22) was led by Kevin Durant’s 28 points on 11-of-25 shooting. Russell Westbrook added 19 points, but struggled against Leonard’s defense, shooting just 3-of-13 from the field. He also finished with nine turnovers.

The loss pushed the Thunder further behind San Antonio for the number two seed in the Western Conference to 12 games. Oklahoma City has struggled since the All-Star break, posting a 4-8 record.

“They hit shots down the stretch,” said Durant. “Kawhi Leonard hit a few tough ones. Danny Green hit that big 3 in the corner. They hit shots in the fourth. We didn’t give them nothing. Both teams worked for everything they got tonight. It was a slugfest.”

San Antonio had one of their worst shooting nights of the season, going just 4-for-24 (24 percent) from beyond the arc, but overcame that to outscore the Thunder 27-17 in the final quarter.

“Three-point shots just give the team energy, especially in the fourth quarter,” Leonard said.

The Spurs are now 56-10 on the season and will return to the court on Tuesday night when they welcome the Los Angeles Clippers to the AT&T Center at 7:30 p.m. to continue their five-game homestand.

About Stephen Anderson

Stephen serves as an editor or writer at several Project Spurs Network sites, including Project Spurs, Stars Hoops, Rampage Central and Red Black 90. He is studying at the University of the Incarnate Word and brings his unique writing style from Minute By Minute Sports. He also is a staff writer for UK entertainment website Reality Box. Be sure to follow him on Twitter (@imsteveanderson) for all the latest news on San Antonio area sports.