San Antonio Spurs Extend Winning Streak to Eight, Defeat Oklahoma City Thunder
By Jay Desai
The San Antonio Spurs won their eighth straight game on Tuesday night, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder 113-88 on the road.
The Spurs used a combination of strong defense and great offense to take a 29-10 lead after the first quarter. That lead continued to balloon throughout the game with San Antonio finding themselves up by as many as 34.
While the Thunder were able to out-score the Spurs by six in the final quarter, the hole they had dug themselves into earlier in the game proved to be just too much to overcome.
By taking a large lead early, San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich had the luxury of resting his starters, limiting each of his starting five to under 25 minutes.
Now that the game is over, let’s take a look at our studs and duds of the game, along with key statistics.
Studs of the Game
San Antonio Spurs
Kawhi Leonard continues to tear it up during the Spurs winning streak, this time matching a career-high in points with 26. While Leonard didn’t stuff the stat sheet like we are accustomed to seeing, two rebounds, two assists, and three steals, it’s tough to knock him for that when he only played about 24 minutes. Defense was also a strong point for the 2014 Finals MVP as he helped to limit the Thunder’s starting forwards to a poor 3-of-10 combined shooting night.
Oklahoma City Thunder
With only one Oklahoma City player scoring more than 11 points, it’s pretty easy to pick out the Thunder’s stud of the night. Russell Westbrook continued to carry the team-load on Tuesday night, registering 17 points and six steals in 26 minutes. The All-Star point guard also did a great job frustrating Tony Parker, limiting him to two points on 1-of-5 shooting.
Duds of the Game
San Antonio Spurs
Although San Antonio did not really need Tony Parker’s offense in this one, it would have been nice to see the point guard record more than two points and two assists. Parker was essentially non-existent offensively in his 16 minutes on the floor. The French guard also could not hold his own defensively, allowing Westbrook to score a team-high 17 for the Thunder.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Steven Adams has done a solid job holding down the middle for Oklahoma City this season. Unfortunately for Adams and the Thunder, Tuesday night was not one of those solid nights. The Pittsburgh product struggled to produce effectively against the Spurs, contributing only five points and four rebounds. Those numbers are not too bad but when you consider Adams finished minus-36 for the game, you realize how much the center was exposed. The next lowest plus-minus from a Thunder player was minus-21.
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13: The Spurs connected on 13 more field goals than the Thunder. While some might contribute that to better offensive efficiency that is not necessarily the case. San Antonio attempted five more field goals than Oklahoma City, making the disparity seem a lot less than the actual numbers show.
55: That’s the number of points San Antonio received from their bench. The Spurs reserves did an excellent job once again, keeping the pressure on the opposing team with the starters out. When this bench plays like they did on Tuesday, San Antonio is arguably the best team in the league.
13 (Again): That’s how more assists the Spurs had than the Thunder. San Antonio’s excellent ball movement was on full display against Oklahoma City as they whirled the ball around to the tune of 27 assists. Ball movement fuels this Spurs offense and when it’s working like it did on Tuesday, San Antonio is a tough team to beat.