NBA Game Summary - San Antonio at Oklahoma City
(Monday, March 22nd)
Final Score: San Antonio 99, Oklahoma City 96
Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) - George Hill scored a career-high 27 points and the San Antonio Spurs held off Oklahoma City, 99-96, despite 45 points from Thunder forward Kevin Durant.
Manu Ginobili added 21 points for the Spurs, who won for the sixth time in eight contests and are tied with the Thunder for sixth place in the Western Conference, a game ahead of eighth-place Portland. Tim Duncan tallied 14 points and seven boards, while Roger Mason scored 13 in a reserve role.
It was a gutsy win for the Spurs, who traveled to Atlanta the night before and lost in overtime to the Hawks.
"We came here trying to play more with our heads than our legs," Ginobili said. "I think we did a pretty good job."
Durant, who shot 15-of-24 from the field and missed just one of his 15 foul shots, tied a season-high in points and was two shy of a career-best. He also had eight rebounds, but the Thunder lost for the third time in four tries after a five-game winning streak. They were coming off a 20-point loss at Indiana on Sunday.
"One thing you have to realize in this league, elite teams lose 20 to 25 times a year," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "We're working our way to becoming an elite team, a team that's going to battle every night. This is part of it."
The Thunder closed what was an eight-point deficit in the fourth to 89-88 on Durant's turn-around shot midway through the quarter.
Richard Jefferson jammed on a fast-break off a great bounce pass from Ginobili for a 96-90 Spurs lead with under four minutes left, but the Thunder managed to tie the game with the next six points, capped by Durant's jumper with 48.6 seconds left.
Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka played a big role in the comeback, forcing Duncan to put up an attempt that didn't hit iron for a shot clock violation.
But Ibaka then fouled Ginobili en route to the basket and two free throws later it was 98-96 with 32.8 on the clock.
The Thunder committed a huge mistake that helped the Spurs immensely. Following a timeout, Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook stepped on the sideline trying to inbound while he was guarded by Ginobili.
The Spurs couldn't seal the victory with the next possession. Duncan went to the hoop during a pick-and-roll play with Ginobili, but Ibaka swatted the shot away and Westbrook corralled the loose ball, giving the Thunder 8.8 seconds to work with following a timeout, their last of the game.
Thabo Sefolosha, who was held scoreless, missed a three-point try from near the top of the arc. Ginobili got the rebound and sank one free throw with 2.3 seconds left.
Westbrook's desperation attempt from beyond half-court was short of the rim.
Durant's alley-oop jam off a feed from Eric Maynor in the waning seconds of the first quarter gave the hosts a 34-25 cushion after 12 minutes.
Oklahoma City built a 14-point lead in the second quarter, but the Spurs scored nine in a row to close the gap to 47-42 following a short jumper from Duncan. Oklahoma City's lead stood at 59-56 at the half.
It remained close for most of the third quarter, but San Antonio scored eight straight to gain an 81-74 lead with Matt Bonner's three-point play finishing the flurry with 1:50 remaining. Durant then hit a layup to end the quarter's scoring.
Oklahoma City had a six-game home winning streak broken...San Antonio is 17-17 away from the Alamo City this season...San Antonio won the season series, 3-1...Jeff Green had 16 points, Westbrook 12 and Ibaka 10 for the Thunder, who went 28-of-32 from the foul line.
03/23 02:11:31 ET