Durant, Thunder put an end to Spurs' 11-game winning streak

The Canadian Press
11/27/2013 11:06:08 PM
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OKLAHOMA CITY -- The shots weren't falling early for Kevin Durant and never fell for Russell Westbrook, so it was Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb who carried the Oklahoma City Thunder to their most impressive win of the season.

Durant finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds, Jackson matched his career high with 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting and Lamb scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, lifting the Thunder to a 94-88 win over San Antonio and snapping the Spurs' 11-game winning streak.

Jackson scored eight straight points for the Thunder during a surge early in the fourth quarter that put Oklahoma City ahead by 11 points. The Spurs rallied within three points before Jackson and Durant combined to score the Thunder's final 13 points and put the game away.

"We couldn't guard (Jackson) tonight," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "He really helped them. He was basically the difference in the game. He did a great job."

Serge Ibaka added 17 points and 11 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which is 7-0 at home, the franchise's best home start since 2004-05, when it was in Seattle. The Thunder have won five straight, their longest streak of the season.

The Thunder took control of a tight game with an 8-0 run in the third quarter and withstood a run by San Antonio midway through the fourth.

"I just attacked gaps and shots went down for all of us," Jackson said. "We just kept trying to get in the lane and make the passes for the next man and just keep attacking the bigs off pick-and-rolls. . I think we as a team, we did it pretty successfully tonight, but it all started defensively."

Tony Parker had 16 points and seven assists for San Antonio (13-2), which was seeking the best start in franchise history. The Spurs also started 13-1 during the 2010-11 season. Portland, which entered Wednesday on an 11-game winning streak, is the only other team to have beaten San Antonio this season.

During their previous eight games, the Spurs had beaten opponents by an average of 19.1 points, with all those wins by nine or more points. But fellow Western Conference power Oklahoma City (10-3) represented a step up in competition, and the Spurs lost for the third straight time at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

San Antonio shot 39.1 per cent from the field and went 7 of 27 (25.9 per cent) from 3-point range. The latter number particularly irked Popovich, who said his team didn't attack the basket as much as he'd like.

"I thought a pretty good percentage of ours tonight were hurried or frenetic at times," Popovich said. "I didn't like our selection."

Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks agreed with Popovich that the majority of the Spurs' 3-point attempts benefited the Thunder.

"I thought our defence was outstanding," Brooks said. "I think in the last three or four games we've put a string of defensive efforts and defensive performances together we can continue to build on.

"Going into this game they'd won 11 in a row and were the hottest team in basketball and with the way they score they're a hard team to guard. I thought our guys did a good job with our length making them miss shots and I thought defence was the key tonight."

Durant and Westbrook combined to shoot 6 of 24 in the first half -- 1 of 9 from 3-point range -- and the Spurs led 46-43 at halftime. Meanwhile, Kawhi Leonard went 6 of 12 from the field and had 13 first-half points for San Antonio.

With usual stalwarts Durant and Westbrook struggling, Ibaka picked up the slack early in the third quarter, scoring 10 straight points for Oklahoma City coming out of halftime. That seemed to wake up the Thunder and they went on an 8-0 run to take their largest lead to that point at 59-52 on a dunk by Durant at the 5:08 mark.

Lamb hit a 3-pointer and a 2-pointer in the final 1:35 of the third quarter to extend the lead to 68-59 and Jackson's driving layup gave the Thunder a 78-67 lead with 8:47 left. It was the first double-digit advantage for either team.

That was Oklahoma City's last field goal for more than 4 1/2 minutes, allowing the Spurs to gain ground. Marco Belinelli's basket with 6:46 left pulled San Antonio within 79-76 but then the Spurs went cold as well, missing their next four shots.

Ibaka's putback with 4:12 left ended the Thunder's drought and Jackson followed with an 11-foot jumper to make it 83-77. Durant, who finished 10 of 23 from the field, then grabbed the rebound after a miss by Leonard and drove the length of the court for a basket while being fouled. He made the free throw to put Oklahoma City ahead 86-77 with 2:56 left.

Jackson "was aggressive all night getting to the rim," Durant said. "That's what he does. Nobody can stay in front of him. . He gave us a nice spark and those guys, him and Jeremy, Fish (Derek Fisher), those guys are really the reason we won the basketball game."

NOTES: Before the game, Popovich and Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti chatted briefly outside the Spurs' locker room. Presti was an assistant GM with the Spurs before taking the same job with the Thunder franchise in 2007. . Referee Monty McCutchen called Oklahoma City G Derek Fisher for three fouls on one San Antonio second-quarter possession. After an illegal screen call on the Spurs to end the possession, Fisher told McCutchen, "That's terrible." McCutchen responded, "Don't talk to me."

Parker, Durant and Perkins (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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