SAN ANTONIO — On paper, it was a matchup of two of the top four teams in the league.
On the court, it was nothing more than a mugging.
And by the time the Thunder walked out of San Antonio on Saturday night, it left as perhaps an example of the separation between the Western Conference's top three teams and everyone else.
The Spurs dealt the Thunder its worst defeat of the season in a 101-74 thrashing before a sellout crowd of 18,581 inside AT&T Center. The Thunder, which entered the game with the fourth-best record in the West, fell to 23-12. The Spurs bumped their league-best record to 29-4, winning for 12th straight time at home and moving to 19-2 in their own building.
It was just the second time this season that the Thunder has lost by 20 points or more. The Thunder fell by 21 at home against Utah on Oct. 31.
The Thunder's performance Saturday, though, was more frightening than anything seen on Halloween.
Oklahoma City suffered its worst offensive game in nearly every statistical category. The Thunder's point total was a season-low, as was its 32.9 percent shooting. OKC's 10 assists tied a season-low, and the team's 28 made field goals were one more than its season low.
The Thunder also turned the ball over 19 times, leading to 17 Spurs points.
“It was one of those games where it was just sloppy,” said forward Kevin Durant, whose 16 points led just three Thunder players in double-digit scoring.
The Thunder never led. The Spurs led by as many as 27.
“We're capable of playing better than that,” said Thunder forward Nick Collison. “It's disappointing how we came out. They're a good team, and if you don't come out ready they kind of put it to you rather quickly. And that's what happened tonight. They were all over us.”
The Thunder stared at a quick 24-10 hole after it started just 3-for-15 shooting from the field. San Antonio, meanwhile, made 11 of its first 17 shots and turned the game into a track meet by scoring seven quick points off the Thunder's first three turnovers. Oklahoma City had no answer for the Spurs in transition and watched San Antonio score 24 fast-break points. It led to a whopping 60-26 differential in points in the paint.
“We got beat by the best team in basketball,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “They handed it to us pretty fair and square.”
Brooks was most displeased with the offense, which was marred by over-passing, ill-advised shots and general carelessness. Oklahoma City trailed 31-17 at the end of the first quarter after making just four of 20 shots and committing five turnovers. It was mostly downhill from there. The Thunder shot just 29.3 percent in the first half, making as many free throws (12) as it had field goals and turnovers.
The 19 turnovers also were one shy of a season-high. Russell Westbrook, one night after a triple double, turned it over six times and struggled all night before scoring a season-low eight points on 3-for-11 shooting.
“We were going too fast,” Durant said. “We were in the fifth gear all night.”
Durant deemed it a lesson learned against the league's current juggernaut.
“We got a long way to go if we want to be as good as those guys,” Durant said.