The Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs engaged in an epic shootout on Thursday night that took two overtimes to decide a winner. At the end of the battle, 56 points from LaMarcus Aldridge gave the Spurs a 154-147 victory in double overtime. 13 players scored in double figures between the two teams. Russell Westbrook had a crazy triple double with 24 points, 24 assists and 13 rebounds. Paul George scored 30 points. Jerami Grant had a career high 25 points. The Spurs made their first 14 THREES and shot an incredible 84% from three for the game, 56% from the floor, and 26-29 from the free throw line. The game was the true definition of a shootout and there were some amazing individual and team performances tonight.
OKC trailed 105-93 entering the fourth quarter, but this team has shown heart all season and they were poised for a run. It started with Schroder throwing an oop to Grant, and then Schroder knocked down a three. Abdel Nader scored six crucial points that pulled OKC within a single possession. A dunk from Adams tied the game at 114 to cap a 17-4 run, and it appeared OKC was on the verge of making the Spurs’ performance a footnote.
And then Adams tweaked his ankle and missed the rest of the quarter, only returning sporadically the rest of the game.
Steven Adams to the locker room with an ankle injury. Not ideal. pic.twitter.com/CrADd3CD3k— Up The Thunder (@UpTheThunder) January 11, 2019
In a game marked by so many amazing performances on both sides, it is tragic the game’s outcome may have come down to that moment.
After Adams left, Aldridge took full advantage and scored the next 10 points for the Spurs, and 24 total in regulation and both overtimes, consistently abusing the lighter Grant for post position and scoring opportunities.
The Thunder to their credit did not give in. OKC trailed 124-117 with 3 minutes remaining, then three treys from Grant (1) and Ferguson (2) tied the game at 126. Derrick White nailed a three that put the Spurs ahead by three. Westbrook opted for the quick two on the next Thunder possession, forcing the Spurs to have to run another out of bounds play.
In the subsequent play, Ferguson’s foul far away from the play was ruled to be committed before the ball was inbounded, giving Aldridge a free throw, a two point lead, plus ensuing possession.
The Thunder knew what they had to do, and sent Paul George to aggressively trap Marco Belinelli to create the steal. But again a call went against the Thunder, as the referees ruled a foul committed by White on the fast break was ruled a common foul instead of a clear path foul, meaning White fouled George a split-second before he passed the ball ahead to Schroder.
Was it the right call?
Replay Review (Scott): if foul committed by White met the criteria for a clear path foul in Q4 of #OKCatSAS. Ruling: George was fouled prior to releasing his pass and White was ahead of George when the foul was committed, common foul. pic.twitter.com/NdhcyMF1vi— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) January 11, 2019
Westbrook showed great patience on OKC’s final play set. Instead of hoisting a fadeaway jumper everyone just knew was coming, he drew two defenders and found Grant for a layup to tie the game. George forced DeMar DeRozan into a tough contested midrange shot that missed and forced OT.
Russ finds Jerami Grant to tie it up!— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 11, 2019
5.6 seconds left - get to TNT NOW! pic.twitter.com/RV0f2ESREh
In the first overtime, the Spurs took the early advantage. Aldridge was still the center of the offense for the Spurs and he continued to give the Thunder all they handle. The Spurs pulled ahead by four, but the Thunder once again battled back. The first overtime ended with Westbrook finding a hobbled Adams for a flush that tied the game at 141. George forced DeRozan into a tough contested two that hit the front of the rim and forced a second overtime.
OKC had another tough start to the second overtime. The Spurs continued to feed Aldridge and the points continued to rise into the 50s. OKC began to lose their focus in the beginning of the overtime, as George picked up a surprising tech and the Thunder started 1 of 8 from the field. The Thunder were able to keep close by getting to the free throw line. However, Adams’ injury allowed Aldridge to impose his will on OKC’s smaller bigs. The Thunder’s offense struggled down the stretch of the 2nd OT and, trailing by six, appeared they would fall short.
And then the final questionable call again went against them. The Thunder ran George off a screen on an inbounds play. As George was elevating, DeRozan fouled Steven Adams. As the shot fell, it appeared as if Adams would get an and-one opportunity. However, after deliberation, the refs ruled the foul came before George went into his shooting motion, thus turning it into a common foul once again, taking away the three and nearly all hope of a miracle.
Was it the right call?
Replay Review (Scott): the timing of an off-ball foul in 2OT of #OKCatSAS. Ruling: Off-ball foul committed by DeRozan was prior to George starting his upward shooting motion, no basket. pic.twitter.com/6AE1vVkSph— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) January 11, 2019
The Thunder shot 50% from the field and nailed 15 of 35 threes for 43%. OKC also dished 33 assists and scored 20 points off of 17 Spurs turnovers. They also won the battle in the paint, 64-52. The Thunder also won the rebound battle, largely due to their offensive rebounding. Their best offensive performance of the season gave them a shot to ruin the Spurs’ record night.
Westbrook finished with a monster triple double with 24 points, 24 assists and 13 rebounds. George scored 30 points (11-of-25 shooting). Grant put in a career high 25 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. Ferguson scored 21 points and hit seven of 10 threes on the night. Schroder scored 14 points off the bench.
Aldridge finished with a career high 56 points (20-of-33 shooting and 16-of-16 from the free throw line). DeRozan finished with a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. White and Marco Belinelli scored 19 points a piece. Mills scored 14 off the bench.