Game Grades: OKC Thunder crush Spurs as rookie rivalry heats up

The OKC Thunder blew out the San Antonio Spurs for the second time this season, this time on NBA Rivalry Week.

Jan 24, 2024; San Antonio, Texas, USA;  San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) looks to pass
Jan 24, 2024; San Antonio, Texas, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Victor Wembanyama (1) looks to pass / Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
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The matchup of rookie stars lived up to the hype, as did the Thunder.

With a 140-114 win against the San Antonio Spurs, the Thunder moved back into first place in the Western Conference standings. While the scoreboard looked similar to the first time the teams met in November, the game was far more competitive- that is until the Thunder pulled away.

The OKC Thunder used a big third quarter to blow out the Spurs.

After a first half that saw the Thunder in the lead most of the way, the Spurs’ attempts to chip into their deficit were thwarted by third-quarter turnovers. Then, the wheels came off for Gregg Popovich’s group as the final frame approached.

A 15-2 Thunder run pushed the lead to 26 and helped the Thunder take a 24-point advantage into the final 12 minutes. Although the game seemed out of reach, the first few minutes of the fourth were some of the most competitive of the night, thanks to rookies Chet Holmgren and Victor Wembanyama.

The budding rivalry saw a handful of memorable moments in the fourth quarter alone, but it was not enough to put the Thunder’s grasp on the game in question.

The Thunder will continue the road trip in New Orleans on Friday for their second matchup with the Pelicans this season.