San Antonio Spurs Tie Single-Season Home Wins Record
By Ian Smith
In their first overtime game of the entire season, the San Antonio Spurs held on to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-98.
The Spurs tied the 1985-1986 Boston Celtics for the best single-season home record in NBA history at 40-1.
The Thunder were without Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka for this game. The Spurs chose to send out their normal starting lineup.
With his removal from the lineup, Westbrook didn’t get a chance to try set the single season record for triple-doubles in the Thunder’s regular season finale. He got his 18th triple-double on Monday against the Los Angeles Lakers in just 18 minutes.
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The Spurs looked a bit shaky early in the game, missing their first 4 free throws. The Thunder went on a 14-2 in the last 5 minutes of the first quarter, not seeming to be too affected by their key absences and taking a 32-21 lead into the 2nd quarter.
The second-unit for the Thunder looked surprisingly fluid against this elite Spurs’ defense, continuing their impressive 23-4 run they started the opening quarter.
The Spurs were still reeling from the injury to Boris Diaw, who was missing his 6th straight game. His contributions are hard to replace. Manu Ginobili also sat out this game to get some rest.
The Spurs found themselves trailing by as many as 18 points in the 2nd quarter. The Thunder looked poised, getting to the line frequently and shooting 12/12 on first half free throws, and eventually making their first 20 of the game.
The Spurs closed the quarter strongly, cutting the deficit to a more manageable margin. Halftime arrived with a score of 53-43 in favor of the Thunder, who were lead by the scoring efforts of Enes Kanter and Cameron Payne.
The Spurs continued to chip away at the Thunder’s lead in the 3rd quarter with great perimeter shooting. The Thunder held tight with their solid rebounding and interior defense. A 10-2 Spurs run at the end of the quarter re-took the lead for them, with the exclamation point being Patty Mills’ lob to Boban Marjanovic, who drew contact while making his lay-up. He hit his free throw to put the Spurs ahead 74-72 with one quarter left to play. Marjanovic had a great game on both offense and defense.
In a situation to monitor in the coming days, LaMarcus Aldridge spent most of the second half in the locker room with an injury. He dislocated his finger in a game with Golden State last week, and it appeared that this injury was aggravated.
Tim Duncan energized the Spurs with his offensive rebounding, as they climbed to a small lead in the 4th quarter. The game was tied 86-86 with less than 5 minutes remaining thanks to a couple buckets by Dion Waiters on the other end.
The Spurs had a 3 point lead with less than a minutes and a half left. The Thunder had committed a lot more turnovers than the Spurs in this back-and-forth game, but that was offset somewhat by their rebounding advantage.
Waiters came through again for the Thunder, scoring a layup and getting fouled with under 20 seconds left in the game. Waiters hit the free throw to tie the game at 93.
Kawhi Leonard had the ball in his hands with a chance to win the game, but his missed shot sent the Spurs into their first overtime game of the year.
The game was tied at 98 with a minute left in overtime until Leonard hit a midrange jumper to give the Spurs the lead. The Spurs played solid defense on the following possession and forced a miss to gain possession. Tony Parker was intentionally fouled and hit both free throws to make it a two possession game with less than 13 seconds remaining.
The Thunder immediately turned the ball over on their next possession, which gave the Spurs their 40th home victory of the year.
Leonard lead the way for the Spurs with 26 points. 4 different players lead the Thunder with 17 points, including Payne and Kanter, who also contributed 16 rebounds.
Next: San Antonio Spurs Prepare for Battle Against the Oklahoma City Thunder
The Spurs (66-15) cap off their regular season on April 13 against the Mavericks in Dallas. The Thunder finish Billy Donovan’s first season as head coach at 55-27.