NBA

Thunder Take Care of Business Against Short-Handed Spurs

Thunder Take Care of Business Against Short-Handed Spurs

You are always satisfied with a “W” when it comes to the win-loss column. The Thunder were certainly satisfied with their 111-92 home win against the Spurs on Saturday night, even though the Spurs decided to rest five of their star players- Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker.

Kevin Durant posted a double-double with 31 points and 10 rebounds while Russell Westbrook put up 29 points with 8 assists, and 6 rebounds. Enes Kanter made another solid contribution off the bench with 20 points and 10 rebounds. The Thunder started out the game on the sluggish side with the Spurs winning the first quarter at 26-24. In the second quarter, Russell Westbrook started to assert his dominance on the Spurs putting up 12 points in the quarter. The Thunder also locked down on defense in the second quarter by having the Spurs shoot only 33% from the field and 25% from 3 point range with only 18 points put on the board. But the Thunder only went into the locker room at half with only a four point lead at 48-44.

Whatever Billy Donovan’s halftime speech was in the locker room, the Thunder responded to it. The Thunder put up 35 points in the third quarter shooting 59% from the field and 43% from 3 point range. The Thunder’s impact in the third quarter was also met on the defensive side with the Spurs only shooting 36% from the field and posting 19 points. The Thunder built their largest lead  in the game of 22 points and went into the 4th quarter with a 20 point lead at 83-63. The positive with the 20 point lead was that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were able to limit their minutes down the stretch of the game and eventually have the bench players take over. At this point of the season, Kevin and Russell will take any rest they can get.

Certainly there were a lot of positives to take from this win. But there were also some negatives. The Thunder bench, outside of the reliable Enes Kanter, went a combined 1 for 16 from the field with only 2 points contributed. 2 points. Kyle Singler: 0 for 3, 0 points. Dion Waiters: 0 for 4, 0 points. Cameron Payne: 0 for 5, 0 points. Randy Foye: 1 for 6, 2 points. These stats are very alarming. For the Thunder to develop the rest of the season and into the playoffs, the bench has to be better and contribute more. Sounds like a broken record, huh?

The win against the Spurs didn’t really put a dent on the Western Conference standings as the Spurs still sit locked in 2nd place and the Thunder are sitting securely in the 3rd spot. Despite the game not having any significance or impact on conference standings, it did have an affect on the Thunder’s momentum going into the end of the regular season. The Thunder have now won seven straight games in a row. Kevin Durant has now scored 20+ points in 58 straight games, which nows puts him 4th in the record books past Allen Iverson for most consecutive games with 20 points. Durant now just trails Kobe Bryant by 5 games for the 3rd spot for most consecutive games with 20 points.

Up next for the Thunder is a tough road game against the Toronto Raptors, who currently sit comfortably in the second spot in the Eastern Conference standings. The Thunder will look to make it eight straight with the tip in Toronto at 6:30pm(CT).

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