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Thunder notebook: Offensive rebounding woes; Thunder get off to bad start

BY MIKE BALDWIN Modified: January 14, 2010 at 9:02 am •  Published: January 14, 2010

Post-game reaction
Both coaches talked about the momentum swings in an overtime game in which the Spurs owned the lead most of the game, including a 19-point cushion. But the Thunder had chances to escape with a win.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you to the basketball gods for allowing us to win,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "Either team could have won the game. That’s why they call it a game. All kinds of junk can happen down the stretch. And crazy things did happen.”

San Antonio won thanks to Manu Ginobili’s, diving, game-saving scramble for a loose ball in the waning seconds. That set up Richard Jefferson’s go-ahead 12-footer with 9.1 seconds left. It wasn’t secure, though, until Russell Westbrook missed an open 15-footer at the buzzer.

"What a game,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "It was too bad it had to end with one team losing. It was a good experience for our guys, but (the Spurs) have been in a lot of playoff battles. They’ve played a lot of games in June.”

Similar to two losses to Houston and an overtime loss to Milwaukee, the inability to get a defensive rebound was a factor. The Spurs finished with 18 offensive rebounds, three in overtime.

"A lot of it is that first step, second effort,” said Oklahoma City’s Jeff Green. "DeJuan Blair is a beast down there. It’s just us making the effort to get the ball. We didn’t do a great job of that.”

Oklahoma City played catch up all night because of a horrible first quarter in which the Spurs scored 35 points. That matches the most OKC has allowed in any quarter all season. The Lakers did it in a pre-Christmas shootout at the Staples Center.

No one in the Thunder locker room was satisfied with the overtime loss, but all agreed that overcoming a 19-point deficit to take the lead late in the third quarter, then overcoming another eight-point deficit with 3:30 to play was another example how Oklahoma City refuses to fold.

"I like the spirit about our team,” Brooks said.


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