OKC Thunder – Spurs, Feb. 23 replay: Key highlights in the victory

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the OKC Thunder flies past Bryn Forbes #11 of the Spurs (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the OKC Thunder flies past Bryn Forbes #11 of the Spurs (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images) /

Fans thirsting for OKC Thunder basketball will delight in the re-airing of the February 23rd match versus the Spurs and a special on your favorite Kiwi.

Playing in the final contest between the two clubs this season the Spurs held a 2-1 edge on the season series. San Antonio won the prior match, also in February to gain that edge and did so by beating the OKC Thunder in clutch time.

That feat is something only four teams accomplished since Thanksgiving. As all teams were put on hiatus on March 11th the Thunder were one of the hottest teams holding a 24-5 clutch time win margin since turning the corner on Turkey Day and an overall mark of  29-13 in that pivotal segment of games.

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This win by the Thunder didn’t require the club’s clutch time efforts. In a rarity, OKC won this match via a balanced scoring effort throughout the entirety of the match.

The Thunder put the game out of reach in the second half by shutting down the Spurs defensively. A common occurrence this season is the Thunder start games slowly and allow their opponents to register strong offensive third quarters.

On this night, OKC shut down the Spurs in the second half pulling away for the easy win. The OKC Thunder shot a blistering 66.7 percent and held the Spurs to 23.8 percent in the third frame while registering 37 points and holding Pops crew to 18  third-quarter points.

OKC seemingly channeled their best impression of the Spurs with their balanced scoring effort. Two nights prior seven Thunder players scored in double-figures versus Denver but the team improved upon that effort with eight players hitting double-digits in this victory. This effort entered the franchise record books as the first time an OKC team accomplished that feat.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the way with 22 points with Steven Adams just behind scoring 21 points. The other six players who hit the mark were Luguentz Dort: (15), Dennis Schroder (13), Danilo Gallinari (12), Chris Paul (12), Abdel Nader (12) and Nerlens Noel (10).

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With everyone carrying the load there wasn’t necessarily one standout performance. That said, here are some things to keep in mind during the replay:

  • Lugentz Dort doesn’t miss – the youngster was a perfect six for six and topped the team with a plus 36 differential. His energy throughout the game is noticeable. Pay attention to the score each time he subs out and subs back in. The common denominator is the Thunder provides two-way dominance when is on the floor.
  • Danilo Gallinari delivers a shocking reverse dunk in the first half of the game.
  • Steven Adams had a strong overall game specifically finding a way to make LaMarcus Aldrige (typically a Thunder killer) seem ordinary.
  • Chris Paul comes up one rebound short of producing a triple-double as he spearheads the balanced effort.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander produced a double-double effort keyed by smart shot selection (he shot 8 of 14 and was perfect from the charity stripe). Watch the Canadian as he drives through the paint using his hesitation and change of pace moves to float by the Spurs defenders.

Fox Sports is re-airing the match tonight at 7:00 and 10:00 p.m CT. Between the two showings, the network airs a special Steven Adams program at 9:00 p.m. called The Kiwi Way.

Enjoy this encore presentation and special Adams program.

For those interested in diving deeper into the stats the ESPN box score can be accessed here and our post-game grades can be found here.

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