San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich has stressed the point that his team needs to be able to defeat the best teams in the Western Conference if they are to make a run deep into the postseason. On January 22nd, 2014 they were unable to get late stops once again as the Oklahoma Thunder came into AT&T Center and took an 111-105 victory back their home state.
Kevin Durant continued his January rampage that has seen him average 37 points per outing; including nine straight games of at least 30 points. However, third year player Reggie Jackson had yet another good game against the Spurs when called upon.
Jackson has been the replacement for the injured Russell Westbrook and habitually plays well against the Texas team. In three games against San Antonio this season he's scored 23, 21 and 27. He's shooting 30 of 45 for 67 percent from the floor against their Western Conference rivals. His timing for improved play has helped the Thunder take a 3-0 lead over the Spurs which will be very important if these teams stay in close competition for home court advantage during the playoffs.
Tony Parker did what he could to keep the Spurs in the game as he scored a season high of 37 points. He was 14-22 from the field and was able to get to the free throw line eight times where he was perfect for the night. Tim Duncan was another high contributor as he had a double-double on the night with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Marco Belinelli, Boris Diaw and Manu Ginobili each scored in double figures on the night.
The Thunder were able to pull out the win in a game that was very close up until the final few moments on the backs of Jackson and Durant. Serge Ibaka was the only other Oklahoma Thunder player to score double figure points as he ended the day with 14.
The San Antonio Spurs are 32-10 and sit in the second spot in the conference, one-half game behind the 33-10 Thunder. These two teams will not face off against until April 3rd when the Thunder will welcome the Spurs to their arena. Oklahoma will travel out to Boston to play the Celtics on Friday while the Spurs will go to Atlanta to face the Hawks.