After losing five straight to begin the annual festivities, the San Antonio Spurs fended off the Oklahoma City Thunder, ending a five-game losing streak.
Although it wasn’t the prettiest, the San Antonio Spurs finally got the job done. This dreadful losing streak stops at five games as the silver and black held off the Oklahoma City Thunder114-106 off of a 25-point performance from point guard Dejounte Murray.
It was evident from early on that Murray had a big game in him tonight. He made his first four shots and looked determined matched up against an all-time great in All-Star Chris Paul. Murray finished with 25 points on 75 percent shooting along with nine boards, three assists and a steal. With starting wing DeMar DeRozan sidelined due to back spasms, Murray played 27 minutes and closed out the game with a strong effort not only as a floor general but as a leader.
The first half was an absolute slugfest with the two teams combining for only 90 points with both sides shooting poorly. Physical defense from both sides resulted in 21 first-half fouls for seven of the Spurs’ 26 free throw makes in the game.
Aldridge missed nine shots in the first two frames but made up for it by grabbing eight of his 14 rebounds in that span. He has a history of torching Oklahoma City, but couldn’t quite get it going early on the second night of this back-to-back set that began with a devastating loss in the Mile High City.
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Forward Trey Lyles asserted himself defensively against OKC’s variety of competent slashers by blocking four shots, three of which came in the first two quarters. It’s taken him a while to truly get comfortable, but we’ve seen a whole new side of Lyles in recent weeks that leads me to believe he’ll be a competent and valued member of this team heading into the future.
An 11-0 run by Oklahoma City early in the third quarter cut the Thunder lead down and swung momentum in the wrong direction. This led to OKC winning the quarter by six points, which the Spurs earned back with a six-point swing in the fourth.
As he’s known to do, spark plug Patty Mills came off the bench for 20 points in 28 minutes, and combo guard Derrick White had a full line of his own with 17 points, eight assists, four boards and a steal in the same amount of time.
San Antonio will take a 23-31 record into the All-Star break, placing them 10th in the West, tied with the inner-division rival New Orleans Pelicans for that place.