These were the games when the Thunder's youngsters were supposed to struggle. The nights where the inexperienced bench was supposed to cost OKC.
The 13-1 Spurs were in town, winners of 11 straight, bringing their veteran and potent second unit with them.
By regular-season standards, it was a big game on a big stage. And to win, you'd figure, the Thunder would have to lean heavily on its stars and less on its young guns.
But something funny happened during the Thunder's biggest victory of the season on Wednesday, a 94-88 slugfest over the Spurs.
The script flipped.
Kevin Durant (24 points on 23 shots) struggled for a majority of the night and Russell Westbrook (six points on 2-of-16 shooting) labored through all of it.
But OKC's bench, maligned before the season but thriving now, picked up all the slack.
And much of that rested on the shoulders of Reggie Jackson.
The Thunder's 23-year-old third-year point guard tied a career-high with 23 points, needing only 14 shots to outscore every member of the Spurs by at least eight points.
He kept the Thunder afloat in the first half, scoring nine points on 4-of-5 shooting, and he closed out the Spurs in the second, scoring eight straight points to start the fourth quarter and a couple clutch buckets down the stretch.
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