Westbrook spurs Thunder win in San Antonio

Danny Sanchez, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SAN ANTONIO -- The Oklahoma City Thunder have been through many battles with the San Antonio Spurs and knew that in order to win they needed the right players to step up at the right time.
And their All-Star point guard did just that.
Guard Russell Westbrook had 31 points and eight assists to lead the Thunder to their ninth straight win with a 113-100 victory over the Spurs on Saturday night.
Westbrook made 13 of 22 shots from the field and had two 3-pointers in 34 minutes.
"I was just trying to be aggressive," Westbrook said. "I was trying to find a way to get my teammates involved. Whatever the defense gave me I was taking."
Oklahoma City guard Reggie Jackson added 21 points and forward Kevin Durant chipped in 17. Center Serge Ibaka had 14 points and 14 rebounds as the Thunder (22-4) captured their second win over San Antonio this season.
Tony Parker, who missed the last two games with a right shin contusion, led the Spurs (21-6) with 23 points. He added eight assists.
Spurs forward Tim Duncan had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Forward Boris Diaw added 14 points and guard Manu Ginobili 11. Guard Marco Belinelli scored 17 points, all in the first half, and center Tiago Splitter had 11 rebounds for the Spurs.
Playing without key defender Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs worked to contain Durant and held him to 6 of 14 from the field, but they could not stop Westbrook.
"It hurt us a little bit," Parker said of Leonard's absence. "But over the course of the season you're going to miss some guys. We just have to keep playing, and have some other guys step up."
Westbrook held the upper hand consistently against Parker in the battle of premier point guards and helped the Thunder build an 11-point lead in the third quarter.
The Spurs whittled the lead to four when Splitter's thunderous dunk made it 90-86 with nine minutes left and brought Spurs fans back to their feet.
But the Thunder answered and pushed the lead back to 12 when Westbrook again silenced the crowd with a jump shot that made it 106-94 with three minutes left.
"They (Thunder) just got away from us," Duncan said of the Spurs' third loss at home this season. "They seemed like they hit everything. We just couldn't get over the hump. We played hard in the second half, which gave us a chance. We just have to find a way to be more consistent against these really good teams."
The Thunder held the Spurs to 43 percent shooting from the field and outrebounded them 48-37.
San Antonio's bench, one of the best in the league, was limited to 30 points, 16 below its average.
But it was Oklahoma City's offense that exploded for 40 points in the second quarter, shooting 56 percent from the field. Westbrook paced the Thunder with 16 first-half points, with Jackson and Durant adding 12 and 11 points each, as the Thunder went into the locker room up 61-50.
"It was one of our best scoring quarters," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said of the second quarter. "Not sure we have even had a 40-point quarter this season, but we moved the ball well and made shots. We got hot there in the second (quarter)."
Belinelli, who started in place of Leonard, had 11 first-quarter points in nine minutes. He hit five first-half 3-pointers led all scorers at the intermission with 17 points.
NOTES: Spurs F Kawhi Leonard was scratched before the game because of a dental procedure. Leonard was slated to defend Thunder G and the league's leading scorer, Kevin Durant. ... On Nov. 27, the Thunder defeated the Spurs 94-88 in Oklahoma City, snapping San Antonio's 11-game win streak. ... San Antonio's bench has been a huge part of their early season success. They are averaging 46.3 points and 11.9 assists per game, both tops in the league in each category. ... It was a homecoming for Oklahoma City G Andre Roberson. The rookie first-round pick from Colorado was born in San Antonio and graduated from nearby Karen Wagner High School.