In a tight game that was thrilling from start to finish, the San Antonio Spurs pulled off a crucial win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
After losing their last two games, the San Antonio Spurs desperately needed a victory on Thursday night. They faced the fourth-seed Thunder in the AT&T Center, hoping to come out on top in this pivotal Western conference matchup. The two teams faced three times earlier this season, with Oklahoma City leading the series 2-1.
LaMarcus Aldridge was listed as questionable coming into Thursday’s game after an MRI revealed no structural damage to his injured left knee. Fortunately for the Spurs, Aldridge was able to play significant minutes against the Thunder. The All-Star has been crucial in the Spurs resurgence into the playoff picture.
As expected, there was a playoff-type atmosphere in the AT&T Center as the game began. The score remained close, and neither team ever lead by more than 10. LaMarcus Aldridge was strong out of the gate, with 19 points in the first half. However, the Spurs committed many costly turnovers, and lead by just three points going into halftime.
As the third quarter began, the Spurs had an offensive drought. They went just two of 15 from the field. This allowed the Thunder to amass a six-point lead. However, a pair of three’s from Manu Ginobili built momentum for the Spurs, and they entered the fourth quarter trailing by just four.
Ginobili for 3️⃣!!! pic.twitter.com/iGrJyCbcLA
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) March 30, 2018
The beginning of the fourth quarter was quiet, with neither team able to generate potent offense. With two and a half minutes remaining, Dejounte Murray pulled off a massive steal. As a result, Kyle Anderson drew a foul as he put up a layup in transition. On the next Spurs’ possession, LaMarcus Aldridge made what appeared to be a game-sealing dunk. However, Paul George then made a contested three with just 8.7 seconds left on the clock, cutting the Spurs’ lead to two. Luckily, Ginobili was fouled and made both his free throws, ensuring a 103-99 victory in San Antonio.
— NBA (@NBA) March 30, 2018
Although LaMarcus Aldridge looked good early on, he put up just six points after halftime. Considering his recent knee trouble, it’s concerning that he disappeared for much of the second half. However, it’s definitely a good sign that the Spurs were able to pull off a win without a monster performance from Aldridge.
The Thunder have not won in the AT&T Center since Christmas Day of 2014. With this loss, the Thunder drop to fifth in the standings. The Spurs, on the other hand, jump up to fourth seed. If they can maintain their spot, San Antonio will have home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
On Sunday, the Silver and Black will host the first-seed Houston Rockets at 3:30 p.m. ET.