The San Antonio Spurs will travel to Oklahoma City to play the Thunder on Sunday night, with both teams looking to build on wins in their most recent games.
The Spurs have found their formula for success – defense. San Antonio clamped down on Orlando in a 102-89 win Friday, marking the second time this season the Spurs have defeated the Magic.
Dejounte Murray paced the Spurs with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Keldon Johnson added 20 points and nine rebounds, and Derrick White, Devin Vassell and Thaddeus Young hit for 12 points each.
San Antonio bore down after an Orlando fourth-quarter run that brought the Magic to within seven points. The Spurs executed down the stretch while shooting a season-best 88.9 percent from the free-throw line for the game.
“Obviously, everything is not going to be perfect, but the one thing that gets us through is our defensive capabilities,” Young said afterward. “Especially young guys – you want to be able to have them go out there and be able to execute at the end of games.”
San Antonio’s three wins this season have come when it’s held opponents to less than 100 points. Five of the Spurs’ six losses have come by 10 points or less.
“We’ve been in every close game, and it kind of paid off (Friday),” Johnson said. “We weathered the storm.”
The Thunder head home after a 107-104 win over the Lakers in Los Angeles on Thursday. Oklahoma City wrapped up a three-game California road trip 1-2 after a blowout loss in San Francisco to the Warriors and a close loss in L.A. to the Clippers.
“This is a group that grows through every experience and improves regardless of how the games turn out,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said after the win over the Lakers. “We’ve had some good moments, we’ve had some tough moments, but we’ve grown through all of them.”
Both of the Thunder’s victories this season are against the Lakers. On Thursday, Oklahoma City trailed by 19 points but rallied and then outlasted Los Angeles after the Lakers pulled to within a possession in the closing minutes.
It was the second time in a week the Thunder rallied from a huge deficit to beat Los Angeles, but this game was on the road.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 28 points, including a 34-foot 3-pointer with just over a minute left to give OKC a six-point lead.
“I usually don’t shoot that shot in the game, but it’s something I practice,” Gilgeous-Alexander said of his 3-pointer. “I felt confident shooting that ball. It was something that I was familiar with, so it wasn’t a crazy shot to me. But it felt good.”
Six players scored in double figures for OKC, with Lu Dort adding 17 points, Ty Jerome and Darius Bazley 14 each, Kenrich Williams 13 off the bench, and Derrick Favors recording 10 points.
The Thunder won two of the three games with San Antonio last season.
–Field Level Media
–Field Level Media