Spurs win in Overtime to tie best Home record
The Spurs recorded a narrow OT win over the Thunder as they tied the 1985-86 Celtics’ best Home record of 40-1 at the AT&T Center, San Antonio tonight. Popovich will be disappointed nevertheless, due to the fact that they let the game run into OT against a Thunder side that rested Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The starters also had to log in extra minutes in a game that everyone expected the Spurs to seal easily and rest their starters. The Spurs are now 66-15 with the win and had sealed the 2nd seeding of the Western Conference a while back. This was also the final game of the regular season for the Thunder and coach Donovan decided to rest his star duo of Durant and Westbrook to have them in the best shape possible for the post season. The Thunder have finished the season 55-27 and have finished as the 3rd seed of the Western Conference.
Kawhi Leonard led the scoring for the Spurs as he recorded 26 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Tony Parker duly supported him with 20 points, 3 assists and 3 steals. Tim Duncan had 12 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Boban Marjanovic added 9 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks coming off the bench. LaMarcus Aldridge, who played only 19 minutes added 8 points, 5 rebounds and a block. David West added 8 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals off the bench. Patty Mills had 7 points and 3 assists off the bench.
The Thunder relied on a team effort to drag the game into OT in the absence of their best players. Enes Kanter recorded another double-double with 17 points and 16 rebounds coming off the bench. Steven Adams ended the game with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks. Dion Waiters also had 17 points along with 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Cameron Payne also added 17 points, 3 rebounds and 7 assists. Randy Foye added 8 points and 3 assists off the bench. Anthony Morrow added 8 points off the bench. Andrew Roberson had a solid defensive game as he ended up with 5 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks.
The Thunder’s second unit shocked everyone as they led the Spurs’ starters for the large part of the game. The Spurs looked sluggish in their final home game of the season, right from the beginning. The Thunder took full advantage of it and took the first quarter, 32-21 with a 14-2 run in the final 4 minutes. Kanter and Payne combined for 10 points in this run. The Spurs still didn’t recover from their lethargic play in the 2nd and the Thunder extended their lead to 16 early in the quarter with a 9-0 run. The Spurs then showed some signs of recovery with an 8-0 run and just edged the quarter, 22-21. The Thunder went into the half with a 53-43 lead. The 3rd quarter saw the Spurs get back to their normal selves as they crushed the Thunder and took the lead for the first time in the game. They opened with a 7-2 run and kept chipping away at the 10 point deficit. They finally took the lead as they finished the quarter with a strong 15-4 run to take the quarter 31-19. Patty Mills scored all of his 7 points during this crucial run. The Spurs went into the final quarter leading 74-72. The Thunder would not give up yet and the teams were inseparable till the Spurs made a 5-0 run with the score at 88-88 with 2 minutes left. They should have closed out the game but the Thunder to their credit made a 5-0 run themselves to tie up the game and sent it into OT. Waiters made a vital 3 point play to tie it up and Leonard missed a clutch shot in the dying seconds for the Spurs. But Leonard came good in the OT as he scored 6 of the 9 Spurs points. The Thunder fought well even in OT, but with the score at 98-98, Leonard made a 15 footer with 50 seconds to go, Payne and Waiters missed the tying shot. The Thunder were forced to foul Parker with 12 seconds to go. Parker made no mistake as he made both the free throws and the Spurs closed out the game 102-98.
The fact that they tied a 30 year old record of the great Celtics side illustrates that this is another historically great side we’re seeing. But they are flying well under the radar, thanks to the Warriors dominance. But everyone needs to take a minute and acknowledge what even the Warriors couldn’t accomplish in a potentially best NBA season ever: lose only 1 game at home. The Spurs close out their regular season with a trip to the Mavs on Wednesday. The Thunder meanwhile are ready to go into the playoffs and will likely face the Mavericks or the Grizzlies in the first round.