Spurs try to continue winning ways vs. Thunder

NBA
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There’s finally a winning feeling going around the AT&T Center in San Antonio as the Spurs continue to battle back from a rough few months thanks to spotty defense, consistency from their star scorers and a stepped-up effort from the team’s young up-and-comers.

San Antonio needed all of those aspects and more to beat Golden State in overtime on Tuesday and will look to further its recent run of success when it hosts Oklahoma City on Thursday.

The Spurs had to work overtime to find a way to beat the Warriors 117-113, but that’s nothing new for San Antonio (14-18), which has played five overtime games this year and won four of them, all at home.

“It’s more so familiar territory now,” said San Antonio guard DeMar DeRozan, who led the team with 24 points in the win. “So, we got out there and grind it out, fight it through.”

Dejounte Murray scored seven of his 15 points in overtime, when he was 3 of 3, including a 3-pointer, and had a steal and an assist.

“He came through big, but I always expect Dejounte to come up big for us,” Spurs guard Bryn Forbes said.

LaMarcus Aldridge collected 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Spurs, who have won seven of 11. Patty Mills added 18 points and had five 3-pointers.

The Spurs’ rough stretch in November, when they lost eight in a row, led them to finish the calendar year below .500 for the first time since 1996. San Antonio still closed the decade with 554 victories, the most by any coach (Gregg Popovich) and franchise in the league.

The Thunder head to San Antonio on the heels of a 106-101 home win over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday. Chris Paul scored 17 points — including 13 in the final 4:31 — to help erase a seven-point deficit with less than three minutes remaining.

Oklahoma City ended the game with a 14-2 run, fueled in large part by Paul. The win was the third in a row and seventh in the last eight games for the Thunder.

The Thunder (18-15) are three games above .500 for the first time this season. Oklahoma City begins a four-game road trip on Thursday.

“The really good teams in our league, the last four or five minutes, they really lock down and tighten up,” Paul said. “That’s what we did. We’ve got to figure out how to put the whole game together, but I’m happy with what we’ve been doing.”

Danilo Gallinari and Dennis Schroder, both listed as questionable before the game with ankle injuries, paced Oklahoma City with 20 points each. Gallinari returned after missing four games.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 19 points and a career-best 10 rebounds, Nerlens Noel had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Steven Adams had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the balanced Thunder attack.

Oklahoma City won despite making only six of its 27 attempts from beyond the arc.

–Field Level Media

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