“We always have to make an extra push against these guys,” Durant said. “You have to be on point with every play because they expose all of your mistakes. So we just wanted to play hard, make up for if we made a turnover, get back in transition and try to stop those guys.”
De Colo came off the San Antonio bench to score 14 points, all in the second half. Spurs guard Tony Parker shot 4-for-11 for 14 points, and he handed out seven assists, but he was held in check much of the night.
After missing the last 14 games with an injury, Jackson ended the night with only five points and four rebounds. But he was glad he chose to make his return against the Thunder.
“That’s how I want to come back,” Jackson said. “I want to play against the best. It was exciting to be back out there. But you have to give Oklahoma City its props. They gave us an was an old-fashioned butt whooping today.”
Ibaka had his jump shot going as he racked up 12 points on 6-for-6 shooting in the first quarter. The Thunder led 30-26 heading into second period.
With Duncan getting off to a slow start, it was Tiago Splitter who provided the points in the paint early for the Spurs. San Antonio’s vaunted, balanced attack kept the Spurs within striking distance. Of the 10 Spurs who played in the first half, nine of them scored at least two points. Even so, the Thunder led 53-48 at halftime.
Oklahoma City’s defense turned up the pressure in the third quarter, forcing the Spurs into becoming a jump-shooting team. Nearly everything San Antonio put up was outside of the paint.
When the San Antonio players did make their way to the rim, Durant and Ibaka were waiting with a block party. They turned the Spurs’ bad shots into fast-break dunks.
“Going into every game, I never worry about our guys playing with passion and energy,” Brooks said. “It’s always been a staple and we have to continue that. Our effort is always up there. Our standards are high.”
Michael KinneyFollow me @firstname.lastname@example.org