Five takeaways from the Thunder's loss to the Spurs
The Thunder dropped its second consecutive home game Tuesday in a 114-106 loss to the Spurs. Here are five takeaways from the game.
Paul’s superb performance not enough
Leave it to Chris Paul to pull the Thunder offense out of a rut.
His performance Tuesday night was from a time machine. The 34-year-old wasn’t slowed against the Spurs, even in a loss.
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OKC only had 41 points at halftime, but Paul was responsible for 12 of the Thunder’s 15 made baskets. He was 6-of-9 from the field for 15 points and six assists. No other Thunder player had more than six points at halftime.
Paul finished with 31 points and 7 assists. He shot 12-of-18 from the floor and was 5-of-9 from 3-point range.
Comeback falls short
The Thunder trapped Spurs guard Derrick White in a double team.
White forced a misguided pass that Steven Adams intercepted. The Thunder found Danilo Gallinari waiting on the wing but Gallinari’s 3-pointer fell short.
A make would’ve cut the Spurs lead to 106-102 with under one minute left.
San Antonio outscored Oklahoma City 35-29 in the fourth quarter.
All hands on deck
Billy Donovan called on 11 players in the first quarter alone.
Darius Bazley’s injury contributed to that, but so too did the three fouls center Nerlens Noel picked up in his first one minute and 37 seconds of action.
Guards Abdel Nader and Hamidou Diallo gave the Thunder a boost off the bench, particularly in the third quarter.
Trey Lyles had Adams in a headlock.
Thunder fans were already annoyed at the officiating, but that sent them over the edge.
With 4:55 left in the second quarter, Lyles attempted to wrap Adams up for a foul instead of letting the Thunder center score. But it appeared the Spurs forward had gone too far.
Donovan and Paul stood at the scorer’s table and furiously motioned for the play to be reviewed for a possible flagrant foul. No such decision was made.
Paul was still complaining to officials more than two minutes later.
“Man’s got his arms around his neck,” Paul said.
Had the Thunder completed its comeback, a sequence at the end of the third quarter would deserve credit for jump starting it.
Spurs point guard Patty Mills had a 3-pointer that rattled out with 12 seconds left in the third quarter. Mills then fouled Thunder point guard Dennis Schroder on a 3-pointer with five seconds left.
Instead of a potential 82-74 Spurs lead, the Thunder trailed 79-77 heading into the fourth quarter after Schroder made all three of his free throws.