Whew! Has everyone caught their breath yet? The Spurs and the Thunder fought out a nail-biter with red-hot shooting, including an insane 16-19 night (an NBA record 84.1% in an NBA game with a minimum of 15 attempts) for the Spurs from three, and it was just enough to hold off a Thunder team that never allowed the Spurs’ momentum to get into their heads. After two exhausting overtimes, despite being on a SEGABABA, the Spurs pulled out the win 154-147.
LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with a career-high 56 points on 20-33 shooting (the first Spur to pass the 50-point threshold since Tony Parker’s 55-point game in 2008), while Derrick White scored a career-high 23 and Marco Belinelli contributed 19. Jerami Grant had a career-high 25 points for the Thunder before fouling out, complimented by a 24-13-24 triple-double for Russell Westbrook and 30 points from Paul George.
- It was reported in the pregame presser that Pau Gasol would be out for rest tonight, so of course he surprised us all and started. Maybe he was able to convince Pop he was good to go, perhaps with some expensive wine as a bribe?
- At first it looked like the Spurs were picking up where they left off in Memphis with the offense gone AWOL, but a 10-0 run thanks to 8 points from Aldridge sandwiched around a DeMar DeRozan dunk got the Spurs back up off the mat, and four straight threes (one by Patty Mills and three by Marco Belinelli, all off steals) sparked the Spurs to a 33-23 lead at the end of the first quarter. In all they finished the quarter on a 19-4 run.
- Davis Bertans picked up the Spurs red-hot three-point shooting in the second quarter with three of his own, and in all the they started the game hitting their first 14 (ten in the first half). A 10-10 half was the best by any NBA team over the last 20 years, as was hitting their first 14.
- Despite the insane shooting numbers from the Spurs in the first half, the Thunder stayed in it by hitting 7 threes of their own, 18 fast-break points, and generally shooting well from all over the court (gee, kinda sounds like that Spurs philosophy everyone knocks), and the Spurs only led 70-63 at half after allowing an 8-3 run to close.
- DeRozan just doesn’t get the calls other superstar guards get. It’s pretty maddening at times. He and Pop were visibly frustrated with the officials in the second and third quarters with the disparity of contact they were allowing on either side.
- The Spurs hit their first four threes of the third, led by three from Bryn Forbes, before a Derrick White miss broke the streak. The Thunder continued to play well, but it was Aldridge who kept them at arm’s length with 16 points in the third quarter for a 105-93 lead.
- The Thunder continued to crash the offensive glass for points as the Spurs offense became stagnant in the fourth quarter, and the Thunder tied the game at 114 apiece on a 17-4 run with six minutes left.
- That’s when Steven Adams left the game with a tweaked ankle, and Aldridge went back to work down low to take advantage of the mismatches against Grant and Patrick Patterson. The Spurs briefly got up by 7, but the Thunder kept answering. The worst three-point shooting team in the league hit 14-28 in regulation compared to the Spurs’ 16-17, including the go-ahead from White with 21 seconds left.
- Craziness continued to ensue from there. After White’s three gave the Spurs a three-point lead, Westbrook got a lay-up with 16 seconds left. Belinelli was then fouled before the ball was in-bounded, and Aldridge hit the free throw. Then, George stole the inbound pass from Beli, and Grant got an alley-oop to tie things up at 130 with 5.6 to go (after White was reviewed for a clear path foul that wasn’t). DeRozan couldn’t hit the game winner, and we went to overtime.
- A noted beast, Adams returned in overtime despite the bum ankle and slammed in a driving dunk with 25 second left to go to tie things at 140. DeRozan again missed a potential game winner with .3 left, and we had a second overtime.
- The Spurs finally created some separation in the second OT, including a big shot from DeRozan (finally) and massive block by White, who got a bloody forehead to show for it. Aldridge hit two free throws to give the Spurs a four-point lead with 25 sec left, and White free throws made it 152-146 with 12 sec left. The Thunder still wouldn’t go away, though. George hit a three while DeRozan appeared to simultaneously foul Adams, but the refs determined it was before the shot, and the Spurs dodged a four-point play (so, best foul ever?) and finally won 154-147.
For the Thunder fans perspective, visit Welcome to Loud City.
The Spurs are headed to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder (again) in their third and final home-away series of the season. Tip-off will be at 7:00 PM CT on FSSW.