Coach Scott Brooks said he will never be about moral victories. But he was pleased the Thunder fought back after trailing 39-19 after one quarter and nearly erased a 26-point deficit against a team that won NBA titles in 2003, 2005 and 2007. "We battled back. We hung together as a team,” Brooks said. "We competed, shared the ball, got key rebounds and key stops. They’re just too good a team to give them a 20-point, first-quarter lead. One thing the Spurs do is execute. Those are lessons we can learn from them.”
DEFENDING DUNCANOklahoma City did a decent job defensively on two-time MVP Tim Duncan by switching Johan Petro, Nick Collison, Jeff Green and Joe Smith. Duncan finished with a double-double (20 points, 12 rebounds), but the Thunder limited him to 12 field-goal attempts. "That’s one of the best players in basketball history,” Brooks said. "We did a good job of making him earn his points. And he’s seen it all.”
DOWNTOWN DEFICITThe Spurs rely heavily on 3-pointers. When they’re hot beyond the arc, they’re nearly unbeatable. Second in the league in 3-point percentage, the Spurs are shooting 21 treys a game. San Antonio was 7-of-11 on 3-pointers in the first quarter to build a 39-19 lead but was 2-of-12 the final three quarters.
TICKETS ON SALEThe Thunder will place individual game tickets on sale for the final 18 home games today at 10 a.m. Featured games the final two months are against the Lakers (twice), Spurs (twice), Trailblazers (twice), Mavericks, Hornets, Jazz, Nuggets and Pistons. Tickets can be purchased at the Ford Center box office, online at thunder.nba.com or by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX. At least 1,500 tickets are available for each game. Approximately 200 tickets will be held up for walk-up sales for every home game.
WILCOX CLOSE TO RETURN?After Chris Wilcox suffered a dislocated ring finger on his left hand last week, it was estimated he would be sidelined 10 days to two weeks. Wilcox expects to return earlier, possibly as soon as Tuesday’s home game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Wilcox will test the finger today at practice.
FAST BREAKKevin Durant recorded a career-high five steals in the loss Saturday at Dallas. ... Center Robert Swift, sidelined the past three weeks by back spasms, continues to make small improvement but hasn’t been able to participate in a full practice. ... Thunder players Desmond Mason, Damien Wilkins and Smith will deliver adidas sneakers to approximately 150 students today at Dunbar Elementary School, SandRidge’s Energy’s adopted school. BY MIKE BALDWIN