The Oklahoma City Thunder won its second consecutive game on Sunday night, defeating the San Antonio Spurs by a score of 90-87 at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Russell Westbrook recorded his seventh triple-double, Steven Adams pitched in a double-double of his own, and the win moves the Thunder record to 10-12 on the season.
Let’s get to the notes.
A Win is a Win
While it’s nice to beat San Antonio, the game was far more interesting than it should have been. LaMarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker and Rudy Gay were all declared out for the Spurs before tip-off. Manu Ginobili then went on to draw a DNP, Pau Gasol logged 16 total minutes, and Kyle Anderson left in the third quarter due to injury. Still — the Spurs had a look in the final seconds that would have sent the game to overtime. (A look that was generated on an awful, awful late-game turnover from Russell Westbrook.)
The Thunder took an 11 point lead into the halftime break after shooting 52 percent in the first half. The ball moved freely — sixteen of the team’s 21 total assists came in the first two quarters — and the defense held the Spurs to 38.5 percent shooting. It was a typically strong start for OKC.
The second half was typical in its own right — the Thunder failed to get much to go down on offense. OKC was outscored by eight points in the third quarter, followed that up with a fourth quarter in which the team shot just 26 percent, and the “OK3” combined to shoot 8/30 in the final two frames. The Spurs — who had opportunities to squeak it out late — just couldn’t capitalize.
But while there was a lot of bad in the second half, the fact remains that OKC has found a way to win two consecutive games in crunch time. They haven’t been pretty — far from it — but there was movement in the late-game offense and signs the team has at least started the process of figuring it out. The second half shooting was abysmal, but the looks weren’t all that bad. Which is a start.
The Thunder must be better, but this was probably a game the team finds a way to lose a couple weeks ago. Two straight wins and a bit of confidence doesn’t hurt, either.
Steven Adams Keeps Rolling
Steven Adams kept his hot streak rolling. He had 19 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals and a block against the Spurs — wrapping up his night at plus-13 on 8/13 shooting. The double-double was his sixth of the season.
Since going 3/10 from the floor against Orlando last week, Adams is shooting 19/24 over the last two games. His continued development around the rim — coupled with a growing comfort level with Paul George — has him playing some of the best basketball of his career.
Russell Westbrook: 22 pts, 10 reb, 10 ast, 7 TO, 9/22 FG, 2/2 3P, 2/6 FT, +8
Westbrook was good in stretches for parts of the evening — particularly in the first half. He was erratic in the final two quarters, shooting just 3/11 and committing some nearly critical turnovers late. His triple-double gives him his seventh of the season, but it was his third consecutive game with seven turnovers. He’s been passable, but simply must be better about keeping his composure as games progress.
Paul George: 8 pts, 8 reb, 4 ast, 6 TO, 2/17 FG, 1/5 3P, +2
George was not good tonight, shooting 0/4 in the first half, 2/13 in the second half, and tied his season-high with six turnovers. Poor shooting nights will happen, and the Thunder still got the win. Yet it was the second time in the last four games that he’s shot worse than 12 percent from the field. No reason to panic, but his bad shooting nights look really bad thus far.
Carmelo Anthony: 9 pts, 6 reb, 4/10 FG, 1/5 3P, +1
Carmelo Anthony was fairly quiet for the second consecutive game — scoring 9 points on 4/10 shooting. He had a couple instances in the third quarter where he ISO’d for some questionable shots but was not obstructive otherwise. There were some catch-and-shoot threes that probably should have gone down, but he seems to be intent on letting the offense run through Westbrook, George, and — over the last two games — Steven Adams.
Free Throw Woes. The Thunder shot 10/21 from the free throw line — an astounding 47.6 percent. San Antonio shot 17/23 and probably deserved to win the game given the Thunder’s ineffectiveness at the stripe.
Abrines Rising. After receiving no playing time in the Thunder’s last two games, Alex Abrines logged 15 minutes and finished with a plus-3. His stat line wasn’t extraordinary — he had 5 points on 2/5 shooting — but he got a three-pointer to fall and still figures to be a big part of whatever OKC does down the stretch.
Good Andre. Andre Roberson looked great moving without the basketball, using cuts to his advantage in a 4/4 shooting effort. His final stat line of 8 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals in 34 minutes won’t make the headlines, but he was perfect from the field and didn’t attempt a shot from anywhere but at the rim.
- OKC won 47-39 on the boards and had a 52-36 scoring advantage in the paint.
- The Thunder turned it over 20 times to San Antonio’s 17.
- The Thunder only mustered 14 points in the fourth quarter — shooting 6/23 (26.1%) in the process. The Spurs matched the effort with 14 points of their own on 33.3%.
A couple serious dunks from Josh Huestis and Jerami Grant. Via Thunder.
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) December 4, 2017
The NBA TV team discusses the narrow Thunder win:
“There’s just a lot of construction that still needs to happen to clean these things up.” @Barryathree & @SekouSmithNBA react to the @okcthunder‘s win over the Spurs on #GameTime. pic.twitter.com/F4YtsmicTg
— NBA TV (@NBATV) December 4, 2017
Back in action on Tuesday versus the Utah Jazz. 7:00 PM CT tip on Fox Sports Oklahoma.