Both coaches talked about the momentum swings in an overtime game in which the Spurs owned the lead most of the game, including a 19-point cushion. But the Thunder had chances to escape with a win.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you to the basketball gods for allowing us to win,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
. "Either team could have won the game. That’s why they call it a game. All kinds of junk can happen down the stretch. And crazy things did happen.”
San Antonio won thanks to Manu Ginobili’s
, diving, game-saving scramble for a loose ball in the waning seconds. That set up Richard Jefferson’s
go-ahead 12-footer with 9.1 seconds left. It wasn’t secure, though, until Russell Westbrook
missed an open 15-footer at the buzzer.
"What a game,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks
. "It was too bad it had to end with one team losing. It was a good experience for our guys, but (the Spurs) have been in a lot of playoff battles. They’ve played a lot of games in June.”
OFFENSIVE REBOUNDING WOES
Similar to two losses to Houston and an overtime loss to Milwaukee, the inability to get a defensive rebound was a factor. The Spurs finished with 18 offensive rebounds, three in overtime.
"A lot of it is that first step, second effort,” said Oklahoma City’s Jeff Green
. "DeJuan Blair
is a beast down there. It’s just us making the effort to get the ball. We didn’t do a great job of that.”
Oklahoma City played catch up all night because of a horrible first quarter in which the Spurs scored 35 points. That matches the most OKC has allowed in any quarter all season. The Lakers did it in a pre-Christmas shootout at the Staples Center.
No one in the Thunder locker room was satisfied with the overtime loss, but all agreed that overcoming a 19-point deficit to take the lead late in the third quarter, then overcoming another eight-point deficit with 3:30 to play was another example how Oklahoma City refuses to fold.