The San Antonio Spurs were due a win in Oklahoma City after coming up short the past few seasons. The Silver and Black would turn their luck around as they rallied for a 100-95 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder inside the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Friday night.
Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs back with a team-high 28 points. Pau Gasol added 17 and LaMarcus Aldridge chipped in 14 for San Antonio, who can fall no lower than the second seed with the victory.
”I was real impressed with the grit of the whole group,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ”That’s late to be down 21, and they just kept motoring along and trying to be disciplined, and it worked out.”
San Antonio was down 21 points and did not take the lead until the final minute of the game. Aldridge’s dunk off a Gasol feed put the Spurs ahead for good. Manu Ginobili had a huge impact on the night with aggressive play on both ends of the floor, sparking the Spurs off the bench.
”It’s a great win,” Ginobili said. ”We needed one like this. We didn’t play good for 30 minutes of the game, but we bounced back. We were aggressive, we stayed together and we bounced back.”
The Thunder were led by Russell Westbrook’s 39th triple-double of the season, posting 32 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists. Victor Oladipo added 16 points for Oklahoma City (43-32), who are currently in sixth place in the West.
Player of the game:
Manu Ginobili is Project Spurs’ Player of the game. He only scored eight points, but impacted the game with his strong defensive play during a 14-1 run that brought the San Antonio Spurs back from 21-points down. That just shows you can’t underestimate the impact of the 39-year-old Ginobili.
Up next: The Spurs are now 58-17 on the season and will return to the court on Sunday afternoon when they welcome the Utah Jazz to the AT&T Center at 2:30 p.m.