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Thunder notebook: Battling back

Oklahoman Modified: December 15, 2008 at 12:46 am •  Published: December 15, 2008
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.”

Oklahoma 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.”

The 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.