8:00 PM ET, April 3, 2014
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
Kevin Durant extends streak as Thunder halt Spurs' at 19 straight wins
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kevin Durant's rare streak of games with least 25 points continued, and San Antonio's run of 19 straight wins came to a halt.
Another streak might mean more than both of them -- Oklahoma City's season sweep. Durant scored 28 points and Russell Westbrook scored 27 to help the Thunder defeat San Antonio 106-94 on Thursday night in a showdown of the top two teams in the Western Conference.
Oklahoma City won all four games against the Spurs this season, and this was the most lopsided result.
"That's a big thing," Westbrook said. "When you have a team that's a good basketball team -- they're the No. 1 team in the West, and we want to be the best team, you've got to beat the best. I think we did a great job of that tonight."
Serge Ibaka added 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Thunder, who trail San Antonio by three games with eight remaining.
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Durant scored at least 25 points for the 39th consecutive game, the longest streak since Michael Jordan did it 40 consecutive times during the 1986-87 season. He reached 25 on a free throw with 3:31 remaining, drawing a roar from the crowd.
"That was a cool feeling," Durant said. "I don't want to take those moments for granted. It's not what I'm really playing the game for, but it is still cool to see that support from such great fans, no matter what."
Durant can match Jordan's mark, the longest such streak in the past 50 years, Friday in Houston.
"That's a lot of games to be scoring 25 points in a row," Westbrook said. "You can't just not think about that. That's an unbelievable stat. I think he may just finish the season doing that. He does that in his sleep."
The Thunder shot 59 percent in the second half to pull away. Oklahoma City scored 30 points off San Antonio's 19 turnovers.
"Too many turnovers led to too many points, and that's the ballgame," San Antonio guard Danny Green said. "If we changed that, it's probably a totally different game."
"We never thought about the streak in the first place," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "To us, it is just another game."
Spurs reserve Manu Ginobili did not play. The veteran guard was not listed on the injury report, and Popovich did not explain why Ginobili was out.
Oklahoma City trailed 51-43 in the second quarter before Westbrook drained a 3-pointer, then made a layup with 2.6 seconds left in the first half to cut the deficit to 51-48 at halftime. Westbrook had struggled with his shot before that flurry.
"You may miss a few shots here and there, but you've got to keep your mind in the game and stay in the moment," Westbrook said.
The Thunder continued their surge in the second half. Rookie Andre Roberson hit a 3-pointer gave the Thunder a 57-56 lead. A lob from Reggie Jackson to Durant for a dunk gave Oklahoma City a 75-65 lead. Durant hit a running jumper in the closing seconds of the third quarter to put the Thunder up 80-71. He scored 12 points on 6-for-9 shooting in the period.
Oklahoma City pushed its lead to 16, but San Antonio went on an 8-0 run to pull to 91-83.
The Thunder regained control. Westbrook got into the open court, clutched and threw down a reverse dunk to bump Oklahoma City's lead back up to 95-83 with 5:25 to play.
"We just made the second and third efforts," Durant said. "We did a good job of helping each other on the defensive end, and once you do that, you give yourself a good chance."
The Spurs said they will study the game and move forward.
"You can learn a lot from a loss," Green said. "Obviously, I'd rather learn from a win, but sometimes, you feel like you can learn more from a loss. We'll go back to the drawing board tonight."
Jackson played after sitting the previous two games with a mid-back sprain. ... Thunder C Kendrick Perkins returned to action after missing the previous 17 games with a left groin strain he suffered against the Miami Heat. ... Duncan and Perkins got tangled up early in the third quarter, and both were issued technical fouls. Perkins had his arm around Duncan, Duncan threw it off, and Perkins shoved Duncan. ... Thunder reserve F Nick Collison left the game in the third quarter after he took an elbow to the head from San Antonio reserve F Jeff Ayres and was bleeding. He got four staples and was ready to play early in the fourth quarter. ... Westbrook was issued a technical with 1:07 remaining after arguing with the officials.
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 03: Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against Kendrick Perkins #5...(Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: Russell Westbrook. He had 27 points, six assists and four steals, sure, but it was his attacking mentality for the Thunder that really set the tone and bothered the Spurs defense, especially in the second half.
X factor: Oklahoma City's length. It had been a while since the Spurs played against a long, athletic, top-notch defense. San Antonio couldn't cope with the Thunder's ability to help and recover quicker than the Spurs had seen in some time.
Turning point: Kawhi Leonard didn't start the second half. Kevin Durant shot 4-of-13 in the first half, but drew three fouls on Leonard. Leonard sat to start the third quarter and Durant went for 12 points on 6-for-9 shooting in the period as the Thunder took control of the game.
Next 5 Games
*The Thunder scored more than twice as many transition points as the Spurs Thursday night. Russell Westbrook outscored San Antonio in transition by himself (18-17). *The 35 transition points allowed was the most by the Spurs in their last 20 games.[+]
Spurs Transition Defense
*The Thunder scored 18 points on pick-and-roll plays Thursday, including eight by Kevin Durant. The Spurs' pick-and-roll defense ranks in the top 10 in the league, but has struggled against the Thunder this season.[+]
Spurs Pick-and-Roll Defense
The Spurs allowed 112.3 points per 100 possessions Thursday, their highest in their last 20 games. San Antonio is 3-12 when allowing more than 110 points per 100 possessions this season.[+]
This speaks to the Spurs emphasis on team basketball. 33 teams in NBA history have registered a single-season win streak of at least 15 games. Tony Parker's team-leading 15.3 points per game during the Spurs current win streak would be the fewest by a team leader during a 15+ game win streak since Bones McKinney averaged 13.5 points during the Washington Capitols 15-game streak all the way back in 1948-49.[+]
Fewest PPG By Team's Leading Scorer - During 15+ Game Win Streak
If San Antonio and Oklahoma City are 1-2 in the standings entering the postseason, they wouldn't meet again until the Conference Finals. In NBA history, three teams swept the regular season series (min. 4 games) against one opponent and played that same team in the Conference Finals. The team that swept also went on to win the postseason matchup. The Pistons in 1989 and Celtics in 1986 went on to win the title.[+]
Swept Opponent in Regular Season (Min. 4 Games) - Met In Conference Finals - NBA History
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