After sending James Harden to the Rockets just before the season began, the Thunder knew things would be different. Oklahoma City beat up on the Spurs during last year’s Western Conference Finals, but last night the Spurs exacted a little revenge in the form of a clutch Tony Parker buzzer-beater that resulted in a 86-84 win.
With the game tied, Parker drained a 21-foot jump shot as time expired with the hand of the league’s leading shot-blocker from a year ago, Serge Ibaka right in his face. Seconds before, Parker also hit a three-pointer to knot the score at 84.
“I was like, I have to shoot fast,” Parked said via ESPN.com. “He was coming very fast,” he said of Ibaka.
Although Parker hit the final shot and also put in 11 assists on the night, Duncan led the way for the Spurs as usual with 20 points and eight rebounds. Kevin Durant led all scorers with 23 and in the process became the second-youngest player to reach 10,000 career points behind LeBron James. However, his efforts were not enough as the team clearly is still missing Harden’s contributions.
“It was definitely odd not playing and practicing with him,” Thunder guard Russell Westbrook said. “But we still need to find a way to win.”
One of the Thunders’ acquisitions from the Harden deal, Kevin Martin, scored 15 points during his debut. However, that number pales in comparison to the 37 points that Harden put up for his new team in the Rockets’ season opener. Thunder head coach Scott Brooks knows all he can do is work with his current roster and not worry about what might have been with Harden.
“He’s played good basketball. He had a good game,” Brooks said. “We’re real focused on our group, our guys and moving forward.”
The Thunder now look ahead to tonight’s matchup with 1-0 Portland to try and find their first win of the season. You can keep track of all things Oklahoma City here: http://forums.interbasket.net/showthread.php?13786-thunder-rocks!!-(Okc-Thunder)
Meanwhile, the Spurs will look to continue their early season success, as they are off to a 2-0 start. San Antonio’s next game is Saturday against Utah. Make sure to join in the conversation with other Spurs fans at http://forums.interbasket.net/showthread.php?11663-San-Antonio-Spurs-thread.