Thunder notebook: Defensive lapse

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, Modified: February 24, 2010 at 4:03 am •  Published: February 24, 2010

Oklahoma City’s forte has been defense, but the inability to get defensive stops the final four minutes was a key reason a nine-game winning streak ended. Phoenix hit five of its final six shots to overcome a 98-88 deficit to win. The Suns shot 51.3 percent.

"Our defense has not been great the past three games,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "Our offense has really carried our defense. That’s rare. We haven’t done that most of this year. We’ve got to get back to defending.”

The Thunder had several chances to supply a knockout punch after overcoming a 15-point deficit to lead by 10 points. Eric Maynor and James Harden missed 3-pointers that would have kept OKC’s lead at double digits.

Jeff Green missed a put-back layup with 1:26 to play. Kevin Durant missed his final three shots.

"We had some great looks,” Brooks said. "We missed a layup and two 3’s. They would have had a tough time coming back from that. But that’s basketball. I’m not down at all. I like the way our guys battle every night.”

Tonight, the Spurs will be playing their first home game since Jan. 31 after completing their annual rodeo road trip, eight road games sandwiched around the All-Star break.

San Antonio has been inconsistent all season, but super sub Manu Ginobili finally has gotten hot, averaging 17.3 points the last month (14 games). Tim Duncan (19.1 points, 11.0 rebounds) has played well all season.

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