Oklahoma City Thunder Rout Spurs To Win Third Game In Three Days
Grant Belcher, News9.com
OKLAHOMA CITY – Things couldn't have gone any more perfectly for Oklahoma City in a 108-96 win against the Spurs at home on Sunday.
The Thunder became the first team in the NBA to win all three games of a back-to-back-to-back this season. Five other teams had faced the challenge up to that point but couldn't pull it off.
What might have been even more impressive than the win itself was the fashion in which they pulled it off.
Despite playing their third game in three days, the Thunder essentially had this one wrapped up in the third quarter when Spurs coach Gregg Popovich pulled his starters and didn't put them back in.
Oklahoma City led by as many as 25 in the game thanks to some spectacular shooting through the first three quarters.
OKC shot 58 percent in those quarters before the ends of the benches cleared in the fourth and brought the total down a bit, still keeping it above 50 percent for the game.
Perhaps the best part about the big victory was the invaluable opportunity to rest starters, which is crucial in the midst of a five-games-in-six-days stretch.
No Thunder player played more than 30 minutes. Kevin Durant played 29 minutes but was still able to rack up 21 points, 10 boards and seven assists.
James Harden had 20 points in 22 minutes and Nick Collison added a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Six players overall scored in double figures for the Thunder, including rookie point guard Reggie Jackson, who will take on an increased role with the loss of Eric Maynor, who is out for the season with a torn ACL suffered against Houston.
Jackson got a chance to play big minutes in the blowout and was fearless, attacking the basket to score 11 points while dishing out four assists. Jackson looked exhausted at times, playing more minutes on Sunday than the rest of the season combined up to the game.
San Antonio's big two – Tim Duncan and Tony Parker – combined for a rough shooting night, connecting on just 6-of-21 shots in the game.
Defensively, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins kept up some impressive streaks with their shot blocking.
Ibaka picked up three blocks (one more than the Spurs' entire team) and kept his NBA-best streak of games with at least one block going at 23. Perkins' streak of 11 games with at least one block is fourth in the league.
Ibaka and Perkins are the only teammates in the NBA to both record at least one block in each game so far this season. They also helped Oklahoma City with one of its weaker points, outrebounding the Spurs 48-42 on the night.
OKC will get a much-needed day off before facing the Memphis Grizzlies on the road on Tuesday. Tipoff for that game is set for 7 p.m.