Thunder Blows Another Lead, Falls Late in San Antonio
The Thunder’s inability to finish strong reared its ugly head again tonight in San Antonio, as Oklahoma City blew an early 23-point lead en route to a collapse against the Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge led the way for San Antonio with 26 points and 9 rebounds, with the loss dropping the Thunder below .500 yet again.
Oklahoma City finished the first quarter on an 18-2 run, and led 32-15 after the first 12 minutes. Russell Westbrook scored 10 points in the frame, and the Thunder defense held San Antonio to 32 percent shooting. A Jerami Grant layup pushed the OKC lead to 41-18 just two minutes into the second quarter, and it felt like the Thunder would stay in charge of this one.
Alas — it wasn’t meant to be.
The Spurs went on a 30-14 run to close the first half, drawing within seven points as the teams headed into the halftime break. After outscoring the Thunder 30-23 in the third quarter, the teams were knotted 78-78 with one quarter remaining.
Despite the momentum favoring the Spurs, the Thunder hung tight throughout the final quarter. Trailing by three with less than 30 seconds remaining, Oklahoma City had possession and a chance to tie the game. Complete madness unfolded.
Carmelo Anthony’s foot was on the line for his potential game-tying shot, leaving Oklahoma City down one. The Thunder would get one more chance to tie as time expired, but couldn’t get a clean look off. The Spurs comeback was complete.
The loss snapped the Thunder’s three-game winning streak, and dropped OKC’s record to 7-8 on the season. Another very disheartening finish for Oklahoma City, as the team has made a habit of building, and blowing, substantial leads.
- Russell Westbrook finished the first quarter with 10 points, but wrapped up his evening with 15 points on 5/22 shooting. The team won’t be right until he gets right.
- I’ve seen some complaining from fans saying Melo’s foot wasn’t on the line during the potential game-tying shot. Here’s the thing: It was.
- The 15 first quarter points was a season-low for any Spurs quarter this season.
- The game was incredibly close in terms of shooting percentages. OKC shot 43.8 percent from the floor and 39 percent from downtown. San Antonio shot 44.2 percent from the floor and 40 percent from deep.
- The Spurs had more success from the free throw line, hitting 22/28. Oklahoma City was 14/21 and missed some crucial, crucial shots from the line late in the game.
- The Spurs won on the glass, 44-41.
- Oklahoma City had just nine turnovers, had more fast break points, more assists, and scored more points in the paint. Inexcusable loss considering the team also led by 20+.
The Thunder returns to action on Monday at 7 PM CT in New Orleans.