Thursday, December 3, 2015

Spurs best Thunder, 102-104 in thriller.

Seeking to avenge a loss back in OKC, with the additional stipulation of an undefeated home record, the Spurs burst into action, leading the Thunder 8-18 early, as Kawhi Leonard slammed the ball through the net. Danny Green assisted in the double team defense of Russell Westbrook and made a 3 of his own, but was outdone as Westbrook somehow hit a half-court heave at the buzzer. It gave OKC the lead, 25-23, overcoming the early deficit.

Aggressive play came from Ginobili and Leonard to begin the 2nd quarter, but OKC had righted its offense, only to be stalemated by a pair of threes from Ray Allen, tying the game 51-51 at halftime.

In the 3rd, the Spurs tried to gain momentum, with everything going well for them. Tony Parker had gathered 10 assists, Green's defense was solid as another three fell for him, and Leonard got a dunk off a turnover for a 75-68 advantage. Kevin Durant went scoreless in the 3rd quarter, helping San Antonio gain the lead, but it wasn't to last.

After Parker got two steals on a heated Westbrook that was playing badly (2-7 FG %), the lead went up 80-68 from a pair of dunks by Manu and Tim Duncan. Then Kevin Durant woke up: OKC erased the deficit with time winding down and somehow reclaimed the lead.

In the final two minutes, Ginobili would hit a 3 to take back the lead and Tim Duncan would deliver at the charity stripe to make it 98-94. The Thunder halved it, but an unsuccessful steal attempt by Durant would put Kawhi at the FT line with just one minute left.

Angered, Westbrook pulled off the dunk of the night over Tim Duncan, a sick reverse jam that shocked the San Antonio crowd, and Enes Kanter made an easy layup after a missed shot by the Spurs to tie the game.

Then Tony Parker made the play of the game: after a timeout, Duncan set a screen for Parker but the wily point guard drove the other direction, fooling OKC's defense momentarily. Enes Kanter confronted him, only for Parker to elevate and spin 180* in the air, switching hands and tossing the ball up. The ball swirled through the net, wowing the crowd.

A timeout by OKC led to an obvious play for Westbrook, the inbound pass for which nearly being intercepted, as the ball fell to Dion Waiters. A desperate three-pointer wouldn't even make contact with the rim, giving the Spurs a hard-fought 102-104 victory as the perfect home record remained intact.

Parker (8pts, 14asts, GW circus latup) received player of the game honors. Ginobili delivered a strong effort of 19 points, Leonard had 18 points with 3 steals, and Duncan had 15 points with 7 rebounds. Kirilenko had 10 points with 4 assists, Green also had 10 points, Ray Allen perfectly had 9 points with 5 rebounds, Boris Diaw had 8 points and Tyrus Thomas gave 6 as well.

In the losing but valiant effort, Kevin Durant scored 19 points and Ibaka had 21 points with 8 rebounds. Unlike the first meeting, OKC failed to have a multi-faceted offensive output.

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