Without Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka, the role players of the Oklahoma City Thunder came up just short to the fully stocked San Antonio Spurs, 98-102. The Thunder held the lead throughout most of the first three quarters, and were able to push the game to overtime. Dion Waiters was by far the best clutch performer, scoring 10 fourth quarter points on 4 of 7 shooting. It was ultimately Dion's driving ability that sent the game to overtime. Waiters was able to burst past Danny Green for a dunk with 1:28 to go.
And with 16 seconds left, Waiters was able to use an Adams screen to get to the basket for an and one layup.
Waiters must also get credit for his defensive ability in the final moments. In a one on one against Kawhi Leonard, Waiters forced a mid-range miss with 1:12 to go. And with 0:31 to go, Waiters kept a Kawhi Leonard three point attempt well covered. Kawhi's last missed jumper in regulation was covered by Roberson, but it was a very impressive clutch performance from Dion nonetheless.
Overtime was a different story. Payne went 1 of 3, and Waiters went 0 of 3. The Thunder were in it until the final minute, but cruel fate kept them from pulling off the victory. With 38 seconds to go, a layup from Cameron Payne that would have tied the game barely rolled out. Steven Adams was fouled on the rebound, generating a new possession. But all it resulted in was a Waiters stepback on Kyle Anderson. The shot hit front rim and bounced out. Parker secured the ball, and iced the game with free throws.
Box Score | Play-by-Play/Shot Chart | Popcorn Machine | Full Game Highlights | Condensed Game Highlights | Tony Parker 20 Pts Highlights | Kawhi Leonard 26 Pts Highlights | Enes Kanter 17 Pts Highlights | Steven Adams 17 Pts Highlights
Why did the Thunder lose this game?
Nobody can shoot threes. It's not as if the open opportunities didn't come. But the Thunder just don't have a regular option from behind the arc when KD is off the floor. Payne and Waiters combined for 13 three point attempts, and could hit just two. It's a real flaw of this Thunder team. The 21 turnovers were definitely killer as well. Without Westbrook to serve as the offenses' engine, there was no steady and consistent player that could generate space. The game moved a bit slower, and the Thunder struggle deep in the shot clock. Defensively, OKC was actually really superb.
Would really love to see some more stuff like this from Cameron Payne. Just blew past Patty Mills, with the ever so slight hesitation.
Here's a good example of the type of shot that Kawhi Leonard was taking and making all game. Just basic isolations and fades, because Leonard's defender couldn't match up. I'm really glad we'll have KD come playoff time.
Morrow hit only one three tonight, and was 1 of 6 from the field. But I'll be darned if Morrow isn't the quickest shooter I've ever seen. That quick fire three can do so much to open up our offense, because the defense will always respect it.
Tony Parker was just, ridiculously good tonight. Probably just heating up for the playoffs. Check out this hesitation from Parker as he bursts past two defenders. Once free, Parker pauses to draw the foul from Roberson, and hits the bank shot in mid-air.
- With the win, the Spurs secured a 40-1 home record. That ties the 85-86 Boston Celtics as the best home record of all-time.
- Steven Adams had a really awesome game. The highlight was definitely Adams' end of shot clock mid-range fadeaway that miraculously went in. Easily the best long-range shot of his career. I can't wait until Adams can pick and pop, it will open up so much for his game. Anyway, the flip shot was as reliable as ever for Adams. And Adams defense was really on point, especially when he had to help in the paint. Adams defense was so good that he was able to keep Enes Kanter on the floor, while Kanter played PF. Luckily, the Spurs didn't really have the personnel to stretch the floor against OKC.
- Nick Collison hit a jumper today, and provided some much-needed defense.
- Cameron Payne had great moments and terrible moments today. 8 of 20 shooting, 7 assists, 6 turnovers. It was kind of a rapid adjustment for Payne to be given so much responsibility so quickly. But Payne handled it about as well as he could. I liked how advanced Payne's makes were. Payne's quickness and finesse are off the charts. But Payne's three point shot isn't on the level of the rest of his game. And it's hard to get past that as an NBA point guard.
- Andre Roberson hit a three tonight, and I'm hoping that his shooting can somehow continue into the post-season.
- Josh Huestis and Kyle Singler had some really unremarkable minutes, aside from a Singler made 3.
- Enes Kanter was a part of all of OKC's big mid-game runs, but really faded late. Kinda disappointed that Enes kept going outside and taking what the Spurs were giving him. Kanter is supposed to force his way in situations like this, when he's matched up against a power forward.
- Randy Foye was predictably mediocre. I wish he'd stop taking extremely hard long-range two point shots.
- The most important thing about this game is that OKC's bench was able to compete and gain a lot of confidence heading into the post season. Almost kinda like how Pop sat his players while at OKC earlier this year, allowing his bench to gain that same confidence. Meh, it could all be meaningless. But this was definitely the most amped and motivated I've ever seen Dion Waiters in his tenture with the Thunder. And that can only be a good thing.
Thunder Wonder: Dion Waiters, nerves of steel
Thunder Down Under: Steven Adams, one of the NBA's defensive best
Thunder Blunder: Enes Kanter, for fading late. 0-4 in the fourth, 0-1 in OT
Thunder Plunderer: Kawhi Leonard, the mid-range master
Next Game: The NBA Playoffs! Saturday or Sunday. I'm HYYYYPE! Series preview coming as soon as we know our opponent.
What did you think of tonight's game? Drop a comment and let us know!