The San Antonio Spurs squeaked by the Oklahoma City Thunder 86-84 in a rematch of last year’s NBA Western Conference Finals. It was a back and forth affair with neither team leading by more than 10 points.
Here are some takeaways from last night’s game.
Duncan 36 and All: In a home-opener without one of your stars on the second night of a back-to-back, Tim Duncan carried the Spurs offensively and defensively. The 36-year-old showed his offensive repertoire inside and outside with 20 points and did an outstanding job protecting the rim with three blocks. He even included a nice cross-court pass to Kawhi Leonard that Drew Brees would be proud of. I can’t think of one thing Duncan didn’t do last night.
Sick Criminal: Leonard didn’t have a good night overall. But the best thing he did all night was force turnovers. Leonard was a disruptive force recording five steals. However, his biggest play came when he knocked the ball away from Kevin Durant on Oklahoma City’s last possession set up San Antonio’s final play of the game.
Tony Parker Clutch: Parker scored the Spurs’ final five points to give the Spurs the win, first he hit a corner three pointer off a broken play to tie the contest at 84. Then, he calmly swished the game winning wide open 22-footer at the buzzer for the 86-84 win.
Russell, Russell, Russell: Russell Westbrook is going to find himself the subject of punch lines this afternoon, seeing as Parker’s two big shots came at the expense of the Thunder guard. First, Westbrook took his eyes off of Parker when Boris Diaw saved the ball from going out of bounds underneath the basket. Parker smartly ran to the corner where Diaw was able to find him for an open three pointer. On San Antonio’s final possession, Westbrook got faked out and ran toward the opposite side of the floor and left Parker wide open for the game winner. Not a good way to end your night.
What does this game mean: Nothing. The Spurs were without Manu Ginobili on a second night of a back-to-back. And the Thunder made their season debut trying to acclimate a brand new player into their system. For the Spurs this win could serve as a confidence booster, beating a team that knocked you out of the playoffs without one of your star players is never a bad thing.