OKLAHOMA CITY -- Derek Fisher was in a shooting slump since arriving in Oklahoma City. In 17 games, he was averaging only three points a game.
With San Antonio in town Thursday night, Fisher found the fountain of youth. He came off the bench to score 17 points, helping the Thunder hand the Spurs a 100-88 defeat at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
"We never worry about Fish," Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant said. "Even though he was missing some shots, we were going to keep going to him and give him confidence. And tonight he came through for us big. On the offensive end, he was hitting shots, spacing the floor and being aggressive. That's what we need from him."
The win ties the season series at 2-2 and cuts San Antonio's lead for the top spot in the Western Conference down to half a game with seven games remaining.
"Oklahoma City played more aggressively and more consistently than we did," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We got ourselves back in the game, and down the stretch we just made too many mistakes."
After trailing by 20, the Spurs (55-20) fought their way back and had a chance to steal the contest.
They cut the Thunder's lead to three points with 4:41 left in the game. Russell Westbrook responded with a pair of free throws to push lead back to five.
Oklahoma City (56-20) got consecutive defensive stops before Durant made a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the Thunder a 94-86 advantage with 3:14 remaining.
After the Spurs' Kawhi Leonard hit two free throws, Serge Ibaka took an assist from Durant for an easy layup. San Antonio then had had two opportunities to answer, but Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter's shots were off the mark. Westbrook put the game away with a jumper from the free-throw line and the Spurs never threatened again.
"We just couldn't score through stretches," the Spurs' Tim Duncan said. "We had a good start going into the fourth quarter, and then we went however many minutes without a score. We just seemed to get within striking distance but then were not able to get over the hump."
Westbrook led all scorers with 27 points, and he added seven rebounds and seven assists. Durant had 25 points on 10-for-20 shooting, and he also contributed nine rebounds and six assists. Fisher, the only Oklahoma City bench player to hit double figures, shot 5-for-7 from behind the 3-point arc.
Leonard and Duncan each scored 24 points to pace the Spurs. Leonard also collected 14 rebounds, while Duncan hauled in 11. Gary Neal scored 14, while Tony Parker was held to two points and four assists.
"His leg was bothering him, and he just couldn't go," Popovich said of Parker. "I wish he had told me before the game. When he started out, it looked like he had no energy to start the game. He looked to me like he was limping."
The Thunder were out and running to start the game. Using their defense to force turnovers and get their transition game going, they had the Spurs on their heels.
But it was the re-emergence of Fisher that kick-started Oklahoma City offensive attack. The long time veteran knocked down his first four 3-pointers of the night as the Thunder went up 41-21.
"The energy was great," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. "I think our fans thought it was a playoff game. They were so involved in the game from the start. Our guys love playing here. We've got a special place to play. If you don't get excited about playing here, you're in the wrong business."
But as the Spurs always seem to do, they slowly chipped away at the deficit. Led by Leonard, Neal and Duncan, they cut the lead to 52-44 at halftime.
It didn't take long for Oklahoma City to regain its swagger. The Thunder went on a 15-4 run to start the third, once again sparked by their defense. Durant and Ibaka each picked up a block on Leonard, while Westbrook stole an inbounds pass to Parker before knocking down a 3-pointer.
However, the Spurs didn't get rattled. They played at their steady pace and continued to knock down 3-pointers. Neal's jumper as time expired in the third cut Oklahoma City's advantage to 77-71.
"Those guys never give up," Durant said. "We were up 20 I think twice, and they cut it to six or seven and even three. I like our poise and the way we stayed composed during those runs they were making. And we made plays."
NOTES: San Antonio was without the services of Manu Ginobili and Stephen Jackson because of injuries. Despite that, Thursday was only the 29th time this season the Spurs has had the starting lineup of Duncan, Leonard, Splitter, Danny Green and Parker intact. Oklahoma City has played 72 contests with the same starting five. "At this point in the season, to be honest, it was pretty disappointing to have Manu go down this late," Popovich said. "It changes a lot of what we were doing. We got a little discombobulated with his injury. It kind of threw us back a bit because we were in the tail end of a plan we'd put together." ... The Spurs have one player who has played in every game this season -- Splitter. The Thunder have three -- Durant, Westbrook and Nick Collison. ... Despite being a three-time scoring champion, Durant said he isn't going out of his way to make it four straight. After New York's Carmelo Anthony scored a combined 90 points in his past two games, his scoring average rose to 28.1 points per game. Durant is at 28.3 heading. "He can have it," Durant said. "I really wanted my first one. Now it's cool, don't get me wrong, I never want to take stuff for granted, but if it happens, it happens."