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Thunder snap Spurs' streak

Updated: 2013-11-29 07:47
By Associated Press in Oklahoma City ( China Daily)

Jackson and Lamb rise to the occasion for Oklahoma City

The shots weren't falling early for Kevin Durant and never fell for Russell Westbrook, so it was Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb who carried the Oklahoma City Thunder to their most impressive win of the season.

Durant finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds, Jackson matched his career high with 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting and Lamb scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, lifting the Thunder to a 94-88 win over San Antonio and snapping the Spurs' 11-game winning streak.

 Thunder snap Spurs' streak

Serge Ibaka (left) of the Oklahoma City Thunder blocks a shot by San Antonio's Tony Parker in the fourth quarter of their game in Oklahoma City on Wednesday. The Thunder won 94-88. Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press

Jackson scored eight straight points for the Thunder during a surge early in the fourth quarter that put Oklahoma City ahead by 11 points. The Spurs rallied within three points before Jackson and Durant combined to score the Thunder's final 13 points and put the game away.

"We couldn't guard (Jackson) tonight," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "He really helped them. He was basically the difference in the game. He did a great job."

Serge Ibaka added 17 points and 11 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which is 7-0 at home, the franchise's best home start since 2004-05, when it was in Seattle. The Thunder has won five straight, their longest streak of the season.

The Thunder took control of a tight game with an 8-0 run in the third quarter and withstood a burst by San Antonio midway through the fourth.

"I just attacked gaps and shots went down for all of us," Jackson said. "We just kept trying to get in the lane and make the passes for the next man and just keep attacking off pick-and-rolls. I think we, as a team, did it pretty successfully tonight, but it all started defensively."

Tony Parker had 16 points and seven assists for San Antonio (13-2), which was seeking the best start in franchise history. The Spurs also started 13-1 during the 2010-11 season.

Thunder snap Spurs' streak

Portland, which had its own 11-game streak snapped on Wednesday, is the only other team to have beaten San Antonio this season.

During their previous eight games, the Spurs had beaten opponents by an average of 19.1 points, with all those wins by nine or more points. But fellow Western Conference power Oklahoma City (10-3) represented a step up in competition, and the Spurs lost for the third straight time at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

San Antonio shot 39.1 percent from the field and went seven of 27 (25.9 percent) from three-point range. The latter number particularly irked Popovich, who said his team didn't attack the basket as much as he would have liked.

"I thought a pretty good percentage of our shots tonight were hurried or frenetic at times," Popovich said. "I didn't like our selection."

Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks agreed with Popovich that the majority of the Spurs' three-point attempts benefited the Thunder.

"I thought our defense was outstanding," Brooks said. "I think in the last three or four games we have put a string of defensive efforts and defensive performances together we can continue to build on.

"Going into this game they had won 11 in a row and were the hottest team in basketball, and with the way they score they are a hard team to guard. I thought our guys did a good job with our length, making them miss shots, and I thought defense was the key tonight."

Durant and Westbrook combined to shoot six of 24 in the first half - one of nine from three-point range - and the Spurs led 46-43 at halftime.

Meanwhile, Kawhi Leonard went six of 12 from the field and had 13 first-half points for San Antonio.

(China Daily 11/29/2013 page23)

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