All the good vibes that had returned after a night of terrific basketball in Denver about disappeared 24 hours later when the Thunder came home.
For the better part of three quarters, the Thunder got thrown around like a rag doll by San Antonio, showing that the tough stretch that has suddenly engulfed this team wasn’t quite done yet.
But just when it looked like we’d be in for watching the third straight stinker at home, the Thunder showed some fight and battled back from a 27-point deficit before falling 114-105 to the Spurs on Friday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Thunder has now lost two straight at home for the first time this season and has dropped three of its past four inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. More importantly, this defeat pulled the Spurs within three games of the Thunder for first place in the Western Conference.
“You can’t get down 27 points to a good basketball team, or any basketball team, and expect to come back. It’s tough to do,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “Give our guys credit. They nearly did that tonight with their toughness and their spirit of not giving up.”
Oklahoma City is now 6-4 since the All-Star break. It took more than a month for the Thunder to lose its first four games of the season.
But, if nothing else, the way the Thunder fought back against the Spurs salvaged some of the positives that were built in a bounce-back win Thursday against the Nuggets following an 11-point blown lead in the final 2 1/2 minutes of a one-point home loss to Houston on Tuesday.
“I like our guys,” Brooks said. “I like how they fight. They never give up. Very rarely are we ever down by that large of a margin. And if it does happen, I know that they’re going to come back and give it everything they have.”
San Antonio had a 14-point lead with 11 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. A James Harden buzzer beating 3-pointer cut the deficit to 11. But the Spurs bullied the Thunder throughout the entire second quarter, building a 63-36 lead with 3:36 remaining in the opening half.
“They should have booed us in the first half,” Kevin Durant said of Thunder fans. “But they didn’t, and they kept us in it.”