We saw this coming. No one should be surprised. We've been harping on how this was a scheduled loss all season. It was a FIGASENI on the road. The streak had to end in order to focus on the post season better, and this would be the perfect game to give up.
With all of that being said, it still didn't make the loss any easier to stomach.
The game started off the same way many of my dreams start, which is with a Kawhi Leonard steal off of a pass leading to a fast break dunk. Our quiet soldier was effective guarding Durant during the 1st quarter, making him settle for 2-of-8 from the field and only 6 points. Fouls became an issue early for Leonard, though, who picked up his second with under 2 minutes to go in the 1st. The Spurs were up 24-15 with 1:55 left in the quarter, but the Thunder finished with a 7-0 run, cutting San Antonio's lead down to 2 at the end of one, 24-22.
The 2nd quarter brought a bit more scoring from the Thunder than there was in the 1st, but the Spurs seemed to have a little more offensively than OKC. Patty Mills was a big part of that. The Aussie went 4-for-4 from the field, with 2 of those coming from behind the arc. Every shot he took looked like it came with a hefty side of confidence. He finished with 10 points in the quarter.
While points were being scored from players other than Patty as well, you got a sense that all the other shooters were a bid timid tonight. Both Danny Green and Marco Belinelli appeared to wait an extra beat to shoot that they normally wouldn't have waited for. This allowed the Thunder defenders to close in on them, forcing more difficult shots.
As we headed into to final seconds of the half, one of the last sequences that transpired showed what a best-of-seven playoff series could look like between two competitive teams. With about 45 seconds to go, Patty grabed a rebound and pushed it up the court, dishing it to Danny near the basket. Danny couldn't finish, put Parker was able to grab the rebound and attempt a put back. His shot was swatted by Ibaka all the way to the three point line where Mills was hanging out. Patty drove and kicked it out to Danny who nailed a three. Following that shot, Westbrook brought the ball down the court and pulled up for a three pointer of his own. He then stared at the Spurs bench and mouthed "I ain't going to stop."
That sequence ended a competitive first half, but also showed the fight and raw skill both teams have on their squad. The Thunder may have our number this season, but a playoff series with them would be fun.
The Spurs went into the half up 51-48. Durant had 12 points, but was having a tough time getting his shots to go down, going 4-for-13.
The third quarter started off with a funny altercation. Duncan and Kendrick Perkins got tied up on a play, and as Timmy threw Perkins' hand off of him, Kendrick decided he was going to push him from behind. As cool as ever, Duncan walked away, not looking back, just smiling. For some reason, though, this got turned into a double technical and no shots were awarded.
Post-scuffle, the Spurs weren't able to get much going offensively. Some would say it was because of the Thunder's difficult interior defense, while other would say it was because of some really bad no-calls. Either way, OKC had an opening to climb their way back into the lead, and with 8:30 left in the quarter an open Roberson three would do just that. The Thunder went up 57-56.
From that point on, the Spurs began to show what a fifth game in seven nights looks like, while OKC put on a show. The Thunder would add some transition three pointers, back door dunks off of rebounds, and Reggie Jackson lobs to Durant to silence any San Antonio hopes.
The Spurs finished the quarter shooting 7-of-23 from the field, while their opponents shot 13-of-19. The Thunder went into the 4th quarter on top, 80-71.
Patty Mills thought he would try his hand at making it a close game in the final quarter. With about 6:30 left to go, Mills hit a jumper, followed by a three, followed by another three on three consecutive possessions. The Spurs were only down 8 at this point, but a turnover on an inbounds play by San Antonio lead to a reverse dunk by Westbrook, which completely ended any momentum build by the Aussie.
The Thunder came away with a pretty decisive win, 106-94, ending the 19-game winning streak for the Spurs. Mills lead the team with 21 points, while Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan were right behind him with 17 points each. Kevin Durant extended his streak of games in which he scored 25 points or more to 39 games, though he had to log some late fourth-quarter minutes to do it.
San Antonio moves to 59-17 on the season, still 3 games up on OKC atop the West.
For the opponents perspective, visit Welcome to Loud City.
The Spurs will face the Memphis Grizzlies, which is a possible first round matchup in the playoffs. The game is Sunday at six o'clock, so everyone should be well rested and ready to play without the huge "winning streak" monkey on their back. I'm sure Pop will be in a better mood because of it.