Last night the Oklahoma City Thunder lost their third consecutive game. This time the loss came against the San Antonio Spurs after two overtimes, 147-154 the final score.
Once again the Thunder failed to win a game in clutch time. On 16th losses, this season, ten of them came by a margin of six or fewer points. Yes, yesterday the Spurs won by seven points, but the game went to double-overtime, and the Thunder made a useless foul with a few seconds on the clock to send Aldrige to the FT line.
The game itself has been a fun battle to watch, both teams fought hard for fifty-eight minutes, and despite being on the second night of a back to back, the Spurs looked still fresh and effective on offense. Oklahoma City played an outstanding game offensively, and in any other night, by playing their usual defense, they probably would have won. However, for the third straight game, the Thunder didn’t play good defense. The Spurs shot 84% from behind the three-point line, and despite some of it might be called “luck”, most of it is about defense. Also, the Thunder weren’t able to stop Aldridge, who finished the game with fifty-six points. Neither Adams or Grant were able to slow down the Spurs’ power forward.
These two teams will meet again on Saturday, this time in Oklahoma City, and the Thunder will have the chance to revenge this loss. To do so, they will have to find a way to play finally better defense.
- Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook played a fantastic game against the Spurs. He took really good shots, rebounded the ball well, and most importantly, he found his teammates over and over again. Twenty-four assists. NBA-high this season and career high for Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook finished the game with twenty-four points (11-22 FG, 0-4 3PT, 2-5 FT), thirteen rebounds, twenty-four assists, two steals, and only three turnovers. One other important part of Westbrook’s game was that he didn’t panic or didn’t start to take crazy shots. He kept his composure and trusted his teammates. The only thing missing was the win.
- Terrence Ferguson
What a game this young player had. Terrence Ferguson has been great for more than a month now, but last night might have been his best game of the season. His defense has been impressive on DeRozan, he forced the Spurs’ All-Start to take tough shots, while on offense he did what he was asked for: shot and make threes. Ferguson did it. The second-year player finished with twenty-one points and shot 7-10 from behind the arc.
- Free Throws
Once again the Thunder lose a game where they ended up shooting horribly from the free-throw line. Last night, the Oklahoma City shot 16-24 from the free throw line, 66.7%, while the Spurs 26-29, 89.7%. Many things happened during the game, but the free throw struggles impacted another game for the Thunder. This has been an all-season-long issue, and after forty-one games it is still not fixed.
- Team Effort
Yes, the Thunder gave up 130 points during regulation, let the Spurs shoot lights out from behind the three-point line, and despite throwing at Aldrige different combinations of players, they weren’t able to stop him. However, this team showed what it is made of: heart and hustle. Oklahoma City trailed for the whole game, but they kept on fighting also when the Spurs were hitting everything they were putting up in the air. The Thunder didn’t give up, kept on fighting, kept on battling, and took San Antonio to double overtime. Oklahoma City lost the battle, but if they can play every game with this heart, the Thunder fans should not worry about this loss.
Well, we could write 1000 words on how bad the refs were last night. More upsetting is that they were bad on one side only. How about Paul George being clearly foul on the penetration, not getting the call, and instead he got a technical (in crazy overtime)? How about Jeremi Grant being clearly fouled by White and not getting a call? How about White fouling PG on a 3 vs 1 fastbreak and not getting a clear path foul? How about the Thunder getting the ball with 0.6 seconds left but the refs didn’t review it and so it stayed at 0.3 seconds? And how about calling Ferguson for a foul before the ball is inbounded when actually the call was made when the ball was already in? Or that moment when PG scores a three but they call a foul on DeRozan on Adams where it could have been easily an and-1 but it wasn’t? How about the officials doing their job correctly when the Thunder play for once?
The Thunder will face once again the San Antonio Spurs, at home, on Saturday night. Tip-off 7pm CT.
Photos by Zach Beeker