OKC Thunder: Paul erupts for season high in loss to Spurs, 3 takeaways

OKC Thunder's Chris Paul #3 handles the ball against the Spurs (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder's Chris Paul #3 handles the ball against the Spurs (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder loses to a spirited Spurs squad. Here are the three key takeaways from the match.

The OKC Thunder’s team contribution and the second-quarter comeback wasn’t enough as the DeRozan-less Spurs took over as soon as they arrived on the court, at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Since the Spurs were on a five-game losing streak and four places below the Thunder coming into this game, it was expected that OKC would be able to come out on top.

But there was definitely no doubting that an organization like the Spurs would come out invigorated and inspired to give their all.

That was just what they did, led by LaMarcus Aldridge and Dejounte Murray who combined for 50 points. As well as a huge double-double from Aldridge with 25 points and 14 rebounds.

San Antonio did an exceptional job of preventing the Thunder form adjusting to their continued scoring which led to nine unanswered points. However, if you look at the stats, the team percentages in this game are quite similar with the Spurs shooting 48.8 percent and OKC shooting 45.9 percent from the field. OKC was better from downtown with 35.5 percent.

This is the first consecutive loss for OKC since January 17th, but it wasn’t all bad for the OKC Thunder. Chris Paul played an excellent game in one of his best individual performances this season.

Let’s have a look at three takeaways from the game.

Chris Paul goes off for a season-high:

Before the match commenced, Paul was honored for being selected to make his 10th All-Star appearance next week. Marilyn Luper Hildreth the daughter of Clara Luper, an Oklahoma Civil Rights leader was present to recognize Paul.

It was a memorable way to begin the game where the 15-year veteran put on a show. He erupted for a 31 point effort and added seven assists, two rebounds, one block, and a steal.

He was efficient only missing six of his 18 attempts and played a significant role in keeping OKC in the game despite the loss.

First quarter slow start:

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As the Thunder were still trying to get their winning run going and work on their accuracy, they began many of their early games this season from behind.

Against the Spurs, they let that happen scoring 14 points compared to San Antonio’s 25 in the first quarter. As much as this Thunder team is clutch, it wasn’t enough as the Spurs continued to put pressure on them with late jumpers and free throws.

It might’ve been a different story had they been able to get a good lead or keep the score close in the first frame. This will be something they’ll want to fix in their next game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

OKC Thunder thrives off continuity:

Since the Thunder’s four day rest before taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers, they are 2-4. In the ten games prior to this, they had won seven.

Of course, two losses doesn’t set off the panic button or mean much in the grand scheme of things, but it tells us something about how the OKC Thunder thrive off a flow of scheduled matches.

It is physically and mentally taxing to play every two days and back to backs, but the Thunder embraced this during January. They also found their rhythm during that period.

OKC has shown that when they have to go out and put up a winning performance after just playing the night before, that’s when they do best.

The team has one game to play before they, except for Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will get a rest for All-Star Weekend. It will be interesting to see how they return from this interval.

Next. Spurs desperation wipes out Thunder effort – player grades. dark

If there’s a team that can surprise anyone, it is the OKC Thunder.