Game rewind: A forgettable night in OKC

The Spurs’ road woes continued against Sunday after they dropped a 108-96 decision at Western Division leading Oklahoma City.

The Thunder produced a strong all-around performance as they put the Spurs away early in the second half. The final margin was closer than most of the second half. After leading wire-to-wire in their last two games, the Spurs led for 3 minutes, 39 seconds in Sunday’s game.

Oklahoma City was the better team Sunday night.

Here’s how they claimed their first victory over the Spurs in Oklahoma City since March 16, 2009.  

Game analysis: The Thunder’s bench was too much of a challenge for the Spurs, even playing on the third night of a back-to-back-to-back. San Antonio couldn’t match Oklahoma City’s athleticism as the bench repeatedly provided key plays that eventually put the game away.

Setting the stage: The Oklahoma City bench hit San Antonio with a 9-0 run to start the second quarter. Rookie guard Reggie Jackson started the spurt with a floating jumper, James Harden added a transition dunk and a deep three and Nick Collison finished it off with a nifty reverse layup to boost the Thunder’s lead to 33-22.

Where the game was won: After Richard Jefferson hit a 3-pointer to pull the Spurs  within 54-51 in the first minute of the second half, the Thunder erupted on an 11-3 run and the Spurs never closed  within seven points during the rest of the game.

Player of the game I: Kevin Durant didn’t hit his scoring average (26.2 points per game), but his strong all-around game of 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists was a key reason the Thunder was successful.

Player of the game II: Harden provided his accustomed lift off the bench, ripping the Spurs at the hoop and the perimeter in a 20-point effort that keyed the Thunder’s bench production.

 Player of the game III: The brightest spot for San Antonio was rookie forward Kawhi Leonard, who provided his first NBA double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He even did a passable job defending Durant in the third quarter  in a game that should boost his confidence for future defensive challenges.

Most unsung: Collison not only produced 12 points and 10 rebounds, but he also was dominant inside hitting  6 of 7 shots from the field. Collison was active defensively and provided the most consistent play inside in Sunday’s game. Collison also led the Thunder with a plus-19 score.

Did you notice: Ike Diogu received his most extensive playing time of the season with nine minutes. Diogu was the center in San Antonio’s “small ball” team used in the fourth quarter, producing two points and a rebound. Most impressively, he was a plus-11 which led all the Spurs Sunday night.

Stat of the game: The Thunder became the league’s first team to win back-to-back-to-back games in three nights. Atlanta, Denver, Houston, Sacramento and the Lakers all had failed before them.

Stat of the game II: Oklahoma City hit 50.7 percent from the field and 86.2 percent from the line. The Thunder led the league last season, hitting 50 percent from the field and at least 85 percent from the line 14 times in the same game last season. The Spurs, by comparison, accomplished the feat twice last season.

Stat of the game III: During a 37-21 binge in the third quarter, Oklahoma City outscored the Spurs in fast-break points, 13-0.

Weird stat of the game: Danny Green erupted for a career-high 24 points Saturday night against Denver. Green didn’t score Sunday against the Thunder until he hit two 3-pointers during garbage time during the final 90 seconds of the game.

Weird stat of the game II: Oklahoma City led 104-81 with 3:38 left  before the Spurs closed on a 15-4 spurt to make the final score more presentable. 

Quote of the game: ”They kicked our butts in the third quarter. They did a great job,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on the Thunder’s pivotal fast start in the second half.

How the schedule stacks up: The Spurs were on the back end of a back-to-back and will rest Monday before an approaching back-to-back Tuesday at Milwaukee and Wednesday at home against Houston. The Thunder finished their first back-to-back-to-back of the season. They will rest Monday before a back-to-back Tuesday at Memphis and Wednesday at New Orleans.

Injuries: Manu Ginobili missed his fourth game after undergoing surgery for a fractured fifth left metacarpal. DeJuan Blair and Tony Parker were both removed from the lineup with leg injuries that didn’t appear serious. They rested because the game was out of hand in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma City lost backup point guard Eric Maynor with a season-ending knee injury in their victory over New Orleans Saturday night. Rookie forward Ryan Reid missed Sunday’s game as he recovered from nasal fracture surgery.

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