The Oklahoma City Thunder took a step back in the Western Conference playoff race on Thursday night in San Antonio, as the Spurs were able to hold on for a 103-99 victory. The win pushes the Spurs to fourth in the West — sliding the Thunder into fifth place and just a half-game up on the sixth-place New Orleans Pelicans.
LaMarcus Aldridge shook off a knee injury to lead San Antonio with 25 points and 11 rebounds — 21 of those points coming in the first half. There were 10 lead changes and seven ties in a contest that was difficult to watch at times, with both offenses going through bouts of ineffectiveness. Despite the Thunder scoring just two field goals in a seven-minute stretch of the fourth quarter, the team had its opportunities late. However, Russell Westbrook airballed two critical three-pointers in the final minutes, allowing the Spurs to escape with the win.
Paul George led the way for OKC with 26 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals, with Westbrook contributing 19 points and 11 rebounds. Five Thunder players reached double-figures in the losing effort but the bench was outscored 41-21.
The loss drops the Thunder to 44-32 ahead of tomorrow night’s tilt with the Denver Nuggets. That game tips off at 7:00 PM CT on Fox Sports Oklahoma.
43.5: The Thunder shot 43.5 percent from the floor. San Antonio hit 42 percent.
36.7: OKC went 11-of-30 from downtown, good for 36.7 percent. The Spurs hit on a 13-of-31 clip, 41.9 percent.
66.7: Another tough night at the free throw line. OKC went 14-of-21, just 66.7 percent.
-20: The OKC bench was outscored 41-21 by the San Antonio reserves. No Thunder bench player finished with a positive net rating and all five starters were in the positive.
-5: The Spurs won 48-43 on the glass, including 14-10 on the offensive boards.
+16: OKC won 42-26 in the paint.
15 & 22: The Thunder turned the ball over 15 times, resulting in 22 points for San Antonio. Westbrook committed seven of the turnovers.
PG13 & Russ
Paul George was great in stretches, leading the team in points, assists, and steals. He went 3-of-6 from downtown en route to snapping his two-game stretch of no made attempts from long range. His final line and highlights:
26 pts, 7 reb, 6 ast, 4 stl, 9/20 FG, 3/6 3P, +5
Westbrook was fine for most of the night but didn’t come through when the Thunder needed him late. He shot 2-of-8 from the floor in the fourth quarter, including the two airballed three-pointers in the closing minutes that proved to be too much to overcome. His final line and highlights:
19 pts, 11 reb, 5 ast, 3 stl, 7/19 FG, 0/4 3P, 7 TO, +7
Steven, Corey, & Melo. Steven Adams was by no means spectacular but finished with a 10-point, 13-rebound double-double and was a +10 on the night. Corey Brewer added 14 points and was a +6. Carmelo Anthony was quiet but improved from the last two outings, wrapping up with 9 points on 3-of-3 from downtown and was a team-high +12.
Negative Bench. Here are the plus-minus numbers for members of the Thunder bench: Patrick Patterson (-17), Raymond Felton (-16), Jerami Grant (-13), Alex Abrines (-9), and Terrance Ferguson (-5). Of note — Felton did score 10 points. Grant was held scoreless on 0-of-3 shooting in 14 minutes.
The Other Guys. Five Spurs scored in double-figures: Aldridge (25), Patty Mills (14), Danny Green (11), Kyle Anderson (10), and Manu Ginobili (10).