Gilgeous-Alexander has 33, helps Thunder rally past Spurs

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) battles San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (25) and guard Dejounte Murray (5) for a rebound during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Antonio, Thursday, March 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Eric Gay, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – Oklahoma City and San Antonio are fighting fatigue and injuries, but the Thunder found a way to win a battle of attrition heading into the All-Star break.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 33 points and Oklahoma City rallied in the second half to beat San Antonio 107-102 on Thursday night and snap a two-game losing streak.

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“Our guys did a heck of a job hanging in there,” Oklahoma City coach Mark Daigneault said. “The thing that stood out to me was just our resiliency. We were down 11 at halftime. It’s easy to pack it in. You have a break two quarters away but our guys buckled down and continued to play.”

Mike Muscala added 18 points, and Luguentz Dort had 15 for the Thunder.

San Antonio veteran DeMar DeRozan had 20 points, Trey Lyles added 15 points and 10 rebounds and Dejounte Murray had 14 points. The Spurs had won three of five entering the game.

San Antonio took an 61-50 lead at the half while playing their first game before a sizeable crowd of just over 1,000 fans. Any jolt the team may have received from those fans faded at halftime.

The Thunder outscored the Spurs 57-41 in the second half.

“I think the start of the third quarter was important,” Muscala said. “I thought the first unit did a great job coming out of the gate and set the tone.”

Gilgeous-Alexander scored 20 points in the second half, shooting 7 for 10 to rally Oklahoma City to just its fourth win in 10 games.

San Antonio had 19 turnovers, which led to 26 points.

“No excuses when it comes to them,” Spurs guard Patty Mills said. “They’re all mental turnovers. Could be a lack of execution and just mental. We’ve got to be able to be strong with the ball and execute.”

After committing just eight turnovers in a 119-93 victory over New York, San Antonio had seven in the third quarter alone against Oklahoma.

“We’re not a team that gives up 26 points on turnovers,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “It’s a clear indication of being sloppy, of being tired. Its’ going to happen.”

San Antonio and Oklahoma City were hobbled heading into the final game before the All-Star break for both teams.

San Antonio was without LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, Derrick White and Devin Vassell. Gay, White and Vassell have not played since Feb. 14 due to the league’s health and safety protocols involving those who have contracted or been in contact with COVID-19. Aldridge missed his second straight game with a stomach ailment.

Oklahoma City forward Al Horford sat out the second night of a back-to-back and three others were injured, including George Hill.


Thunder: Hill has not played since Jan. 24 after undergoing what Oklahoma City called a “minor procedure” on his right thumb. … Hamidou Diallo did not play due to a sore right groin and Josh Hall missed the game with a sore left knee.

Spurs: The Spurs hosted First Responders and city officials for their largest crowd of the season. After limiting attendance to family and friends of the team and staff, San Antonio will allow the public to return March 12 against Orlando. … DeRozan eclipsed 17,000 career points and Murray reached 2,000 points. … Mills reached 1,023 3-pointers, surpassing J.R. Smith for sixth in league history for reserves. … Keldon Johnson was selected for the U.S. Rising Stars roster by the league’s coaches. Johnson is the only player chosen that is not a lottery pick. The game will not be played this season due to the shortened All-Star Game activities implemented for COVID-19.


Pelicans: Host Dallas on March 11.

Spurs: At Dallas on Wednesday night.

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