San Antonio concluded its Rodeo Road Trip 2-6 and was unable to take the season series from Oklahoma City (2-2). Rudy Gay (14 points and 6 rebounds) paced the Spurs, while eight OKC players contributed double digits points. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (22 points and 13 rebounds) and Steven Adams (21 points and 14 rebounds) helped the Thunder dominate at both ends from the second period on.
- Thunder point guard Chris Paul lured Dejounte Murray into two quick fouls in the first 80 seconds. He continues to be the quintessential ‘wily vet.’
- It was interesting to see Trey Lyles and LaMarcus Aldridge execute an early high pick-and-roll at the top of the key. I can’t imagine that this action has been run often this year. Speaking of the frontcourt, Lyles and Jakob Poeltl have to come back next year, right? At a minimum, they would continue to work well with the young guard corps.
- Rudy Gay, despite having lost noticeable speed and lift, snatched two offensive rebounds and drew free throws on an attempted dunk late in the first period.
- Derrick White coyly drew an offensive foul on Terrance Ferguson at the end of the first quarter and gave San Antonio 0.6 seconds of an extra possession. Though this resulted in a Gay miss from the wing, it’s the little plays like this that matter in the stretch run.
- Though I have no way to substantiate this, I suspect Bryn Forbes leads the league in audible expletives after getting scored on or being called for a foul.
- Marco Belinelli entered the game late in the third and Thunder play-by-play Chris Fisher pronounced his name numerous times as “belly-nelly.”
- In this year’s rookie class, who is further along in their development among Keldon Johnson, Luka Samanic, and OKC undrafted guard Luguentz Dort? Dort started his 14th game for the Thunder tonight. Johnson benefited from extended playing time as the game went out-of-reach for San Antonio.
- The Thunder scored 20 of their first 24 points in the paint with Paul, Steven Adams, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander getting whatever shot they desired. DeMar DeRozan, Patty Mills, and Lyles were the only Spurs who made more than one basket for much of the opening stanza. Despite a cold-shooting quarter by San Antonio, the teams ended it tied at 29.
- Gay’s six points - on a 3-point play and a long wing make - and Forbes pull-up from distance gave the Spurs the lead early in the second. Thunder responded with a 16-0 run by leveraging Luguentz Dort and Dennis Schroder’s playmaking and Nerlens Noel’s paint protection to reclaim the lead. An Aldridge and-1 stemmed the tide briefly. Despite a litany of missed layups and altered or blocked shots, San Antonio managed to escape the half only down 55-61.
- San Antonio made a conscious effort to get Aldridge involved on offense, but Gilgeous-Alexander and Paul riddled the Spurs defense with make-after-make to nab OKC with a 20 point lead. Dort made his first six shots of the game and was a frenetic tornado on both ends. His steal from Aldridge sent the Spurs center to the bench mere minutes into the quarter. A wayward airball from distance by Mills was endemic of how bad San Antonio’s shooting devolved. At a point late in the period, the OKC starters were shooting 57% (26-of-46), while the Spurs starters checked in at 37% (13-of-35). San Antonio ended their worst quarter of the Rodeo Road Trip down 73-98.
- With the fourth quarter acting as extended garbage time, Spurs rookie Keldon Johnson netted six points via driving lefty layup, emphatic fast-break jam, and a confident drive. Chimezie Metu had a two jumpers - one from the left block and the other from straightaway - that looked Duncan-esque, as did his badly missed three. Pop expended his timeouts in the fourth for teaching moments following defensive lapses by the young Spurs.