I suppose the big question tonight was whether Gregg Popovich was going to pull the starters early, what with the Nuggets on the schedule for tomorrow night. And with the Spurs down 82-64 after three quarters, you could hardly blame Pop for saving those precious droplets of dinosaur DNA. But into the fray marched the San Antonio reserves, and even without Manu Ginobili, they more than held their own against anything Oklahoma City could throw at them — for a while, anyway. The Spurs cut the lead in half and then some, but by the 1:16 mark, when Scott Brooks called off the big dogs, matters were no longer in doubt, as the Thunder wrapped up a 5-0 homestand with a 107-93 win over Deep Grey.
The man of the 4/5 hour was undoubtedly Serge Ibaka, with a game-high 25 points and a game-higher 17 rebounds. (With Nick Collison grabbing 10 boards, OKC rather handily outrebounded San Antonio 49-37.) Russell Westbrook, despite indifferent shooting (6-18), piled up 22 points and served up nine assists, and when Westbrook wasn’t making plays, Kevin Durant was. KD finished with 19, one less than Sixth Man of This Year Kevin Martin.
The Spurs landed four players in double figures, but none of them broke 15. (The ageless Tony Parker and the youthful Nando De Colo each played about half the game and scored 14 points.) San Antonio’s three-point prowess was not in evidence: they went 6-20, marginally better than OKC’s 4-14. Even the return of Stephen Jackson (5 points) didn’t make much of a difference.
So: twenty and four. A happy place, the ‘Peake. But it’s time to hit the road, and the road has its way of hitting back. Wednesday: Atlanta. Thursday: Minnesota. Tuesday: Miami. Not a pushover in the bunch. (And the Hawks have already beaten the Thunder once, in the third game of the season.) Brace yourselves.