Before their game on Thursday night, the Spurs were on an NBA best 19-game winning streak, making them an incredibly safe bet for over the last month. However, the Oklahoma City Thunder apparently do not care how many games in a row the Spurs win, as long as they can beat the defending Western Conference Champions when the time comes to play one-another. On Thursday, the Thunder ended the Spurs streak with a 106-94 victory, making a clean sweep of the Spurs on the season series.
The Spurs have been a great half-court team over the course of their streak. However, where they seem to have obvious concerns are with their transition game and slowing down fast breaks of other teams. This proved to be incredibly evident on Thursday, as the Thunder had 30 past break points, compared to just 13 from the Spurs.
Kawhi Leonard is known for being a secret weapon that the Spurs used against LeBron James whenever they play the Heat. However, despite Leonard’s ability to be a lock-down defender, he hasn’t had as much luck against Kevin Durant. In the first half, Durant was able to draw three fouls on Leonard, which led to him starting the second half on the bench. While Leonard was on the Bench, Durant went 6-9 from the field in the third quarter and put in 12 points. Despite the Spurs being up at half, 51-48, Durant’s third quarter allowed for the Thunder to outscore the Spurs, 32-20, which made for an 80-71 game heading into the final period.
The Thunder have now beat the Spurs on four separate occasions this season. The first game was at home and ended 94-88. They then won the next two games in San Antonio, 113-100 and 111-105. The closet game of the series was that 111-105 game on January 22nd. In that game, Russell Westbrook was sitting due to a leg injury. However, when he is in the game it gives the Thunder two solid options that have proven to spread out the Spurs defense. On Thursday, Westbrook had 27 points and Durant had 28.
For the Spurs on Wednesday, Patty Mills led the way with 21-points. He outscored all of the starters, including Tim Duncan and Leonard, who both finished with 17, and Danny Green, who had 11. Tony Parker, who has led the Spur during their 19-game streak with a 15.3 point per game average, only had 6 on Wednesday.
The Spurs have certainly done a great job of beating good teams during their current streak. They had wins over Miami, Chicago, Portland, Indiana and Golden State. But there is a high probability that the Spurs and Thunder may meet in the Western Conference finals. And if that happens, the Spurs will have to hope to avoid getting swept by the Thunder like they have been in the regular season.
The Spurs still sit as the best team in the NBA and have the second best odds to win the NBA Championship at 7/2. But the Thunder have proven to have the Spurs number thus far this season and they still sit at 4/1 to win it all in June.