The Oklahoma City Thunder jumped out to an early lead Monday night, but it wasn’t enough to stave off their Western Conference foes. The San Antonio Spurs controlled the second half of action, cruising to a 105-93 victory at the AT&T Center.
The Thunder started the second quarter with a commanding 32-22 lead, but the wheels came off by the 6:43 mark of the frame. Kawhi Leonard nailed a three-pointer to bring the Spurs within two and followed it with a mid-range jumper to tie the game less than 30 seconds later.
It was all San Antonio after that. Leonard built on his impressive first-half numbers with two more big buckets in the final three minutes, while Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili did their parts to build a seven-point Spurs lead at the half.
Oklahoma City mounted a small rally in the third quarter, pulling within four on the heels of an impressive quarter by Russell Westbrook. A Tiago Splitter jumper and Danny Green dunk increased San Antonio’s lead back to eight, though, and Oklahoma City was never able to reduce the deficit to any fewer than three points.
The fourth quarter held much of the same for the Thunder. Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka provided most of the scoring, but San Antonio never took its foot off the gas, eventually pulling away to an 11-point lead with less than a minute to play.
Oklahoma City has the potential to score a lot of points in a small amount of time, but it couldn’t overcome a double-digit deficit in less than a minute against one of the best teams in the Western Conference. The Spurs iced the clock and cruised to a crucial win over the second-place Thunder.
Player of the Game
Tiago Splitter, San Antonio Spurs
Splitter led the Spurs in scoring on Monday night, and he did it as efficiently as you would expect from a 6’11” big man. The Brazilian center notched 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the floor, adding 10 rebounds, three assists and a block to his stat line.
The Spurs got double-digit scoring in the contest from six different players, and while Leonard and Green chipped it with excellent outings, Splitter couldn’t have been much more effective at both ends of the floor.
Up Next for Oklahoma City
With the loss, Oklahoma City (47-17) falls two games behind the Spurs in the Western Conference standings. The Thunder will return home for a showdown with the 32-31 Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.
Up Next for San Antonio
The Spurs (49-15) needed a big win on Monday night. After a 136-106 drubbing at the hands of Portland Friday, they bounced back to increase their lead in the West to two games. San Antonio will now travel to Minnesota for a Tuesday night matchup with the 21-39 Timberwolves.