The Spurs have another game tomorrow — against the Pistons, probably a better team than the Thunder at this point — and the Popovich Protocol calls for the Big Names to rest a bit. So Rudy Gay, Tony Parker and LaMarcus Aldridge were nonstarters in the most literal meaning of the word. That said, the second-string Spurs are no slouches, and with both Pau Gasol and Danny Green working limited minutes, they got a chance to strut their stuff, especially in the second half, when the Thunder have had problems of late. Down 54-43 at the half, San Antonio put together a 30-22 third quarter and actually took the lead in the fourth; a Brandon Paul trey with three seconds left fell short, and the Thunder managed a three-point win, 90-87.
Dejounte Murray, the Spurs’ second-year backup point guard, worked tremendously hard, picking up 17 points and 11 rebounds. Reserve forward Davis Bertans played the role of the sharpshooter, hitting 6-12 and 4-9 from outside for 16 points. And Thunder expat Joffrey Lauvergne piled up 12 points before fouling out. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook, despite blah shooting, collected another triple-double (22-10-10), and Steven Adams did another one of those double-double things, with 19 points and ten boards. One thing OKC did not do well was cash in at the foul line: they missed 11 of 21 free throws, which borders on atrocious — from underneath.
The Jazz will be here Tuesday, and then it’s off to — wait, what? — yes, Mexico City, to play the Brooklyn Nets. If I’m reading this right, the Nets are considered the home team. Ought to be fun.