Game 34 Recap: Thunder (19-15) def. Spurs (14-19) 109-103
Official Box Score link
The Thunder came back from ONLY 14 points down on the road against the San Antonio Spurs, a team that OKC hadn’t beaten at their place since 2014.
How are we supposed to get excited about any win in which the Thunder were never behind by 20 or more points?
And get this: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander didn’t even score 32 points tonight. Nope, the slacker only accounted for 25, including 15 in a third quarter takeover in which he was hitting step back 3’s and blow-by layups in the middle of painted traffic. Oh, at the time, OKC was down 9 and SGA single-handedly turned the game around and delivered a Thunder lead.
Closing time Chris Paul? Lay your eyes on this fourth quarter yawn-fest: a mere 10 points in the decisive final period, and he did it on 5 of 7 shooting. You read that right. “Clutch” Paul missed two shots.
If these pedestrian numbers are what we can expect the rest of the season, we might as well fire up those tanks once more.
Okay, now that the sarcasm font is off, let’s get serious.
This team continues to entertain, compete, and defy all expectations night after night. The legend of CP3’s clutch time heroics is spreading throughout the Twittersphere. Ballads of SGA’s ascension into stardom are being sung far and wide. Thunder fans are scrambling to come up with witty nicknames for OKC’s three headed point guard attack. (Sorry Brett Dawson, you’re awesome, and “PG3” makes sense, but we cannot use any name that includes “PG” in it.)
And instead of looking forward to June and the 2020 NBA Draft, Thunder fans are now refocusing their eyes on April and the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
The kicker? It’s looking more and more likely that either the great Gregg Popovich and these Spurs or Dame and his “Goodbye” Blazers will be collecting the extra lottery balls that dropped out of CP3 and Shai’s bag of wins.
- This was a big win in terms of potential playoff seeding, as the Thunder are currently #7 and the Spurs #8 in the Western Conference standings.
- The Thunder are now closer to the Rockets and the 4 seed than they are to the Spurs and the 8 seed. Same distance from the Clippers and the 3 seed as the Spurs and the 8 seed. Truly remarkable what this OKC team is doing.
- The Thunder have won 4 games in a row.
- The Thunder have won 3 road games in a row.
- The Thunder have won 8 of their last 9 games.
- You know we’ve become spoiled as a fanbase when we just expect the Thunder to hit all their shots in closing time. But it’s their fault for keep coming up clutch.
- Real thing Chris Fisher said tonight on the Thunder broadcast: “Chris Paul with another big deuce.”
- Steven Adams’ passing from the post this season has been so good. He was double teamed on one possession tonight, calmly held his ground because he’s Aquaman strong, and found an open SGA wide open underneath the basket.
- Adams has now had 2 or more assists in 28 of 34 games this season. Coming into this season, he was averaging 1 assist per game for his career.
- Paul, Shai, Schroder and Adams. Name a team that has 4 better point guards.
- Terrance Ferguson broke out of his three game scoreless skid by notching 2 points against the Spurs.
- Obviously, the offense from TFerg is a problem. That said, he was a +14, second best on the team to Shai, in 28 minutes of game time. And as usual, he was glued to the opponents’ best scoring wing, in this case DeMar DeRozan.
- How TFerg scored 2 points and was a +14 in a 6 point game and DeRozan scored 30 points and was a -17 in a 6 point game is a mathematical equation only the likes of John Nash or Will Hunting can solve.
- Hamidou Diallo hasn’t quite got his groove back and found the form he was playing in pre-injury, but his two made baskets tonight were highly difficult finishes at the rim that were the result of his signature high motor and off-the-charts athleticism.
- Darius Bazley tonight: 4-6 for 9 points. His previous three games: 0-5 for 2 points, 4-7 for 12 points, 0-7 for 0 points. I asked Billy Donovan after Bazley’s career high of 17 points in an early game against the Pelicans about Darius’s break out, to wish the prophetic Coach of the Month answered: “Bazley is going to ride the rookie roller coaster of good games and bad games this season.”
- LaMarcus Aldridge might routinely burn your favorite team if… he scores 22 points, grabs 11 rebounds, blocks 3 shots, is a perfect 4-4 from 3 point range and you come away thinking, “Wow, we SHUT DOWN LaMarcus Aldridge tonight!”
- We all heard the rumors that Chris Paul wanted to be traded to a playoff team sometime this season. Turns out, he already was.
- Shameless plug: the new Daily Thunder Podcast episode is live on iTunes, Spotify, and everywhere else you listen to pods! In this episode, we count down the Top 19 Thunder Moments of 2019! https://dailythunder.com/the-daily-thunder-podcast-jesse-james-larch/
- Up next: at Cleveland on Saturday. The Thunder have a great chance to get to 20-15 and further separate themselves from the Spurs and Blazers. Oh no. We’re starting to have expectations.