Love it or leave it: Looking back at the Thunder's win over the Spurs

Some things from Monday's game can be used as barometers for future matchups, while others were one-night phenomena.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: December 18, 2012

Love it: OKC's ball movement and balanced scoring

Popovich talked before Monday's game about how the two teams reversed roles in last year's West Finals. The Thunder on Monday again seemed to outplay the Spurs at their own game, which relies on nonstop ball movement that leads to open shots. Much like it's been for most of the year, OKC's ball movement was again good against the Spurs, and that led to high-percentage shots and balanced scoring. The Thunder finished with 22 assists and came within one Durant point of having four players score at least 20. That's long been the recipe for success for OKC, and if the Thunder can do it against San Antonio, it can do it against anyone.

Leave it: Russell Westbrook's shooting percentage

Westbrook made just six of 18 shots against San Antonio, and some are starting to get concerned. Westbrook is now shooting just 41.1 percent, his worst accuracy since his rookie season. But what's been much more significant than Westbrook's shooting percentage is his passing and maturity. He's led the Thunder's improvement as a passing team and is taking care of the ball better than he ever has. He's currently posting a career-best 2.73 assist-to-turnover ratio and has been great at playing within himself. The way he never made Monday's matchup with Tony Parker a personal battle is a prime example.

Love it: The Thunder's rebounding dominance

Oklahoma City out-rebounded San Antonio 49-37 on Monday night. Anyone who's been paying attention understands how rare it is for the Thunder to bully an opponent on the boards. But that's now two straight games that the Thunder has owned the glass against the Spurs. In the first meeting, the Thunder won the rebounding game 48-39. It took monster rebounding nights from Durant, 14 in the first meeting, and Ibaka, 17 on Monday, to do it. But we believe there's something there. In last year's West Finals, the Thunder won the rebounding category 244-239. So these first two games aren't just aberrations.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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Thunder at Hawks

When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta

TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma (Cox 37/HD 722, DirecTV 679, Dish 443, U-Verse 754/HD 1754).

Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM

Three things to know

* The Thunder has won 11 straight, an Oklahoma City era franchise record and an NBA best this season.

* Atlanta defeated the Thunder 104-95 in Oklahoma City on Nov. 4. It was one of only six times that the Thunder failed to score at least 100 points this season.

* Kevin Martin scored a game-high 28 points against the Hawks in the first meeting. Martin is averaging 16.1 points, third most on the Thunder.

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