Not such a random statistic: both the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder had 16-6 home records before tipoff tonight. The Spurs’ lofty seeding — they’re second only to Golden State — is due to their 20-5 record on the road. The Thunder, meanwhile, was 12-14 on the road. A third-grader, looking at those numbers, possibly might have predicted that OKC would be down 31-17 after the first quarter and 52-42 at the half. The youngster, however, would not have anticipated that the Thunder would rebound in the third, at one point making a 23-2 run to take a three-point lead, before the Spurs girded up their loins, or whatever the hell it is Pop makes them do, and went back up 79-75 to end the quarter. And then suddenly Kawhi Leonard discarded the Clark Kent persona and spun the planet backwards on its axis, or something, finishing with 36 points on 13-26 shooting. With LaMarcus Aldridge (25 points) by his side, Leonard made it a blowout after all: San Antonio 108, Oklahoma City 94, the Spurs’ first win in the last three and the Thunder’s second loss in the last two.
You like statistics? Here’s another one. Neither Aldridge nor Leonard, nor any other Spur, posted a double-double. Meanwhile, the Thunder collected three of them: Russell Westbrook (27 points, 14 assists), Steven Adams (16 points, 12 rebounds), and Domas Sabonis (13 points, 10 boards). Alex Abrines was down for the count with back spasms, giving Anthony Morrow extended minutes, during which he scored 11 points. No reserve Spur made double figures. And yet all you have to do is look at this: Spur benchman Davis Bertans scored two but posted +20 for his 23 minutes. How do you beat someone like that?
Back home overnight, and the Bulls show up around eight-thirty, an hour and a half later than the usual OKC start time. The Thunder should not be too tired — no one played more than 35 minutes — but there’s always the danger of demoralization.