Kevin Durant came out hot once again as the San Antonio Spurs fall on home court to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kevin Durant had 36 points and Reggie Jackson added 27 points to lead the Thunder to a 111-105 victory at the At&t Center in San Antonio. Tony Parker led the Spurs with a season high 37 points and 4 assists, not getting much help from the other big two. Tim Duncan had 14 points and 13 rebounds and Manu Ginobili added 10 more points. With the win, the Oklahoma City Thunder have hopped the Spurs in the Western Conference standings taking the number one spot in the west.
In the first quarter, the Spurs lost probably their best defender on the team,Kawhi Leonard, for an extended period of time. It is reported that he has an undisclosed fracture in his right hand, comparable to Danny Green’s injury that will knock him out for at least a month. Injuries have decimated the Spurs’ depth, and have forced them to use inexperienced players to fill the need for weeks to come. Thiago Splitter will miss anywhere from three to five weeks due to a sprained shoulder. With, just recently, Danny Green and now Leonard going down, the Spurs will need to rely on names like Boris Diaw and Manu Ginobili to pick up their production this season or risk falling once again to Durant’s Thunder when it means the most.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are also experiencing injuries of their own, but have continued their run behind one of the best players in the game, Kevin Durant. Durant has been on a tear since his counter part, Russell Westbrook, went down. he has averaged over 36 points a game and over five assists per game as well. Many believe Durant may be in the running for the Most Valuable Player Award this year. He has put up career highs in points and assists this year while leading his team to first in the conference. What has been somewhat hidden in their most recent success is the emergence of their young guard Reggie Jackson. Jackson has averaged 13 points a game this season and averaging 23 points per game against the Spurs each time they have matched up this season.
With the season reaching the mid-way point, and All Star Weekend coming up soon, teams will be hard pressed to make that late season push into the playoffs. Both the Thunder and Spurs are respectively number one and two in the Western Conference standings and will only meet one more time in Oklahoma City at the end of the season. San Antonio will need its big three to stay healthy for the playoff run, and hope the players already injured are able to make a quick recovery to relieve some of the pressure. With Greg Popovich running the show, he is bound to get the best of the lineup he has, and produce a contending team. A deep San Antonio Spurs team is always a dangerous one. The Spurs were not dangerous enough on this night though, falling to Durant and his Thunder teammates. A post-season meeting between these two teams would be highly anticipated by fans and players alike should it come to pass.
by Justin Huffman