San Antonio Spurs lose momentum in second half, fall to Oklahoma City Thunder
By Dylan Carter
Poor defensive effort by the San Antonio Spurs stymied their chances of a victory when they hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night.
After a solid first-half in which the San Antonio Spurs seemed to bee putting the pieces together, they crumbled in the second half against the Oklahoma City Thunder, leading to a 109-103 loss at home. Offensively, the workload was carried by the duo of LaMarcus Aldridge (22 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks) and DeMar DeRozan (30 points on 13-of-25 shooting).
The team looked stout on the defensive end to begin the game, forcing the Thunder into difficult shots and holding them to weak shooting percentages. This effort never carried through to the second half as they gave up 28 in the third and 35 in the fourth quarter.
Aldridge and DeRozan began the game with the most unlikely of occurances: three triples by the Spurs’ mid-range savants. They combined for 20 of their team’s 27 first quarter points in the early-going, preventing Oklahoma City from building any momentum with a range of their players hitting shots to begin the night.
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Most of the Spurs’ backcourt was dreadful in tonight’s matchup. Head coach Gregg Popovich trusts starting shooting guard Bryn Forbes wholeheartedly, although sometimes to a fault. The fifth-year sharpshooter was a detriment to his team as a non-factor on defense while shooting 1-of-9 from the field with seven missed triples in 29 minutes. The same applies to point guard Patty Mills, who came off the bench with a dud of 2 points on eight shots in 21 minutes.
On the bright side, sophomore fan favorite Lonnie Walker IV looked sharp off the bench with 16 points (6-of-10, 2-of-3 from deep) and seven acrobatic boards. He seemed to hurt himself in the fourth quarter when cut off during a hard drive to the basket, but shook off his rust and hit a quick mid-range jumper on the team’s next offensive posession. Hopefully he’s alright because the team could definitely use his help through the second half of what’s been the organization’s worst season since the last millenium.
Though it’s become obvious that this team doesn’t garner much respect from referees, the Spurs committed 22 fouls to OKC’s 14 and turned the ball over four more times than their opponent. This is a waste of one of their best three-point shooting games of the season as they took 31 and hit 41.9 percent of their attempts from deep.
There’s plenty of season left, but their upcoming schedule is rigerous and a win over OKC tonight surely could’ve helped them to build momentum before a back-to-back against the league’s hottest team in the Milwaukee Bucks. That begins with a trip to Wisconsin on Saturday evening.