Asked if he has maneuvered his lineup to be at full-strength specifically against the Thunder, Popovich said: “It's never about one game. It always, with us, about managing the minutes like we've done for a very, very long time. This is a little bit different, because at this point in the season, to be honest, it was pretty disappointing to have Manu go down this late because it changes a lot of what we were doing, were planning to do and all that sort of thing.
“So we got a little bit discombobulated with his injury and kind of threw us back a bit because we were in the tail end of a plan we had put together. It changed things, but things happen. It's unfortunate.”
With 25 points against the Spurs, Durant's season scoring average is now 28.293.
New York's Carmelo Anthony did not play Thursday and his average remains at 28.115.
Anthony and the Knicks visit Chesapeake Energy Arena for a noon game Sunday.
Seated in the front row across from the Thunder bench was two-time Emmy Award winner William H. Macy. … Actress Holly Robinson Peete was in attendance. … OKC is 33-5 (. 868) at home and 23-2 (. 920) at home against Western Conference teams. … The Thunder is 4-3 in Thursday games on TNT. … In the first quarter, the Thunder had no turnovers and the Spurs had no offensive rebounds. … OKC outscored San Antonio 19-3 in fast-break points.
Popovich on whether the Thunder is as good a team after trading sixth man James Harden on Oct. 27: “I'm not going to evaluate and say whether they're as good, or better, or worse, or anything like that. They're a championship-caliber team and they're capable of winning a championship, and that's what's important.”
BY JOHN ROHDE