3 reasons why OKC defeated San Antonio

First of all, neither the Oklahoma City Thunder nor San Antonio Spurs played a great game, and statistically speaking, the Spurs played a slightly better game than the Thunder. But what matters most is that the Thunder came back from 16 points down to win the game 99-94.

OKC has now won consecutive games, three of their last five, and are (3-6) on the season.

Honestly, it’s hard to explain how the Thunder won this game considering getting outscored 60-44 in the paint and turning the ball over 15 times for 16 points versus the Spurs nine times for eight points. However, I’m going to give you a shortlist of how the Thunder won this game.

Defense

Defensively, the Thunder didn’t look too hot to start the game. After falling behind by double-digits early in the game, it looked like an uninspired outing en route to a (2-7) start. That changed late in the second quarter where there was an energy shift on both ends of the floor. OKC held San Antonio to 41 percent shooting and 20 percent shooting from three. More importantly, OKC did that without fouling much. San Antonio only shot nine free throws.

Mike Muscala

From the 7:06 mark of the second quarter, Muscala made a game-changing impact for OKC. He scored 14 points in five minutes in the second quarter and brought the energy to a team that didn’t look very enthused to start the game. He also played a lead role in OKC chipping away rather quickly at San Antonio’s 16-point lead. His defense wasn’t anything to sleep on either, playing a solid defensive game in the paint and adding two blocks to his stat line.

Without Muscala, OKC probably would have lost this game by 25 or more points because the usual savior, SGA, shot 5-of-16 for the game for only 14 points.

Shai’s third quarter

Yeah, SGA was 6-of-15 in the game for 14 points and didn’t find a consistent rhythm, but he was 4-for-8 in the third quarter for nine points. The Thunder always looks for SGA to step up in crucial situations, and usually, that’s the third quarter. He did a great job sticking to his game and being aggressive, going to the basket in the third quarter to capitalize on what Muscala did before halftime. And per usual, the Thunder sat Shai to start the fourth, and within minutes, the Spurs were up one on the Thunder, but as soon as he checked in, the Thunder got back to centerfold and put the Spurs away, despite SGA not scoring in the fourth. His pure energy and two assists helped propel the Thunder past the Spurs.

Oklahoma City seems to be finding its stride after a rough (0-4) start to the season. They have a favorable week ahead of them by the way of competition. On Wednesday, they’ll hit the road to take on the Zion-less New Orleans Pelicans (1-9) and the Sacramento Kings (5-5) at home on Friday.

Addam M. Francisco

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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