The San Antonio Spurs walked into Chesapeake Arena Thursday night with one intention: Win. They did not care about their 19 game winning streak, they did not care about all the attention, they just wanted to win. Of course, this is no easy objective, as the Spurs had to defeat the Thunder.
The Thunder had previously beat the Spurs 3 out of 3 times this season, and the Spurs were looking for their first win versus the Thunder this year.
The game started out in the Spurs favor, as the Spurs jumped out to a 22-12 lead. Through 6 minutes, the Spurs had 0 turnovers, shot 50% from the field, and everyone who started had scored. The Thunder, on the other hand, shot 8 for 23 from the field, had 3 turnovers, and their star, Kevin Durant shot 2 for 8 from the field.
However, around the 2:15 mark, the game changed. Reggie Jackson, who is averaging 23 PPG versus the Spurs this year, made a contested three pointer over Tony Parker. His three pointer got the Thunder bench on their feet, and the Thunder went on a 10-2 run. By the end of the first, the Thunder were down by only two points (24-22).
In the second quarter, the Spurs maintained their lead throughout. Every time the Thunder got close (3 points was smallest lead in second quarter), the Spurs were either crack down on defense, or play with efficient offense.
The Thunder did have a great chance to take the lead, late in the first half, but were unable to capitalize. The Spurs went cold from the field for the last 3 minutes of the first half (2-10 from field), but the Thunder missed two straight three pointers (To tie the game), and the Spurs pushed the lead back to 8. Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka were major parts in the Thunder's inability to fight back on offense. Durant shot 4 for 13 from the field, while Ibaka was only able to shoot 1 for 7.
The only positive news at the end of the first half, for the Thunder, was the final 5-0 run. Russell Westbrook made a pull up three, and then made a driving lay up, to push the deficit to only 3 points, at the end of half. This got the crowd excited, and gave the Thunder a little more momentum going into half. The end of the half, also gave the game a little tension.
Both teams were wrestling in the paint, and fighting each other as they got to the basket. The tension carried into the second half, as Kendrick Perkins and Tim Duncan got into a little scuffle only 2 minutes into the half. Tim Duncan slapped Perkins hands away, Perkins didn't like it, and shoved Duncan in the back. The referee's called a double technical, and the playoff feeling rose even more.
The Thunder used the tension and the home court to their advantage. Only 2 minutes later, the Thunder took back the lead since early first quarter with a Andre Robertson three pointer. After they took the lead, OKC did not stop pushing around the Spurs. The Thunder went on a 9-0 run to push the lead to 69-60, and the fans were going crazy.
OKC was forcing turnovers, running on the fast break, and finishing with spectacular dunks and alley oops. Overall, throughout the entire game, the Spurs only had 13 fast break points, while the Thunder had 27, the Spurs had 14 points off of turnovers, and the Thunder had 27! Every where, the Thunder were out-pressuring, out-hustling, and out-energizing the Spurs.
At the end of the third quarter, the Thunder had the 80-71 lead (Out scored Spurs by 12 points in third quarter), and was only looking to continue their great momentum.
In the fourth quarter, the Thunder jumped out to a 16 point lead with, again, great hands on defense, and finishing on the fast break. The Spurs were continuously turning the ball over, not getting back on defense, and losing more and more momentum.
The Spurs did make the game interesting, as Patty Mills hit two threes in a row to put the deficit to 8 points. However, the Oklahoma City Thunder fought right back, and after Patty's threes, did not let the Spurs get within 8 points.
At the end of the game, the Thunder had 14 steals, 27 fast break points, only 14 turnovers, and shot nearly 50% from the field. The Spurs, on the other hand, only had 5 steals, 13 fast break points, 18 turnovers, and shot 43% from the field. Kevin Durant (Who picked up his play in the 4th quarter) and Russell Westbrook were big in the win, as they had a combined 55 points. In the end, the Thunder had run the Spurs out of the building, and ended their 19 game winning streak.