Published Sunday, November 7th, 2021 | 8:01 pm
Updated on Sunday, November 7th, 2021 | 8:01 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The Oklahoma City Thunders appear to wake up when they plummet in double digits.
Mike Muscala scored 20 points in 14 minutes and the Thunder rebounded from 16 points to beat the San Antonio Spurs 99:94 on Sunday night.
The Thunder have achieved at least 16 points in all three victories. They were 26 points behind the Los Angeles Lakers before taking their first win of the season in Oklahoma City and were 19 points behind the Lakers last Thursday before winning.
What impressed Thunder coach Mark Daigneault the most on Sunday was how the Thunders handled the intensity during their last comeback.
“What I really noticed is the physicality of the game and the level of competitiveness we played with, especially in the second half,” he said. “The fact that in the game we could see in real time that we had to step it up and then do it in a pretty quick spin.”
Muscala scored 5 of 6 field goals and 7 of 9 free throws in one of the most productive offensive games of his career. The 30-year-old has averaged 6.0 points per game in his career, including stints in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Los Angeles with the Lakers and Oklahoma City.
“I felt like I got into a bit of a rhythm there, so it felt good,” he said. “I struggled to shoot the ball a little. I generally thought the guys are really selfless tonight, play the ball and trust the shot, and that was a big focus in training. “
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 14 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, and Darius Bazley added 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Thunder, who celebrated a win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.
Keldon Johnson scored 22 points, Lonnie Walker IV added 15 points and Drew Eubanks scored 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs.
Eubanks said the Thunder are a talented young team that the Spurs overlooked.
“You play the Bucks, you play Brooklyn, you play LA, you kind of get up for these games,” Eubanks said. “We have to learn from this, not just settle down and keep doing what we do to keep those leads.”
San Antonio had possession 22.9 seconds before regular time, 97-94 back. Walker missed a deep 3-pointer off the backboard, Oklahoma City ricocheted, and Muscala made two free throws 3.6 seconds from time to take the game out of reach.
Lu Dort’s 3-pointer for Oklahoma City at halftime cut Spurs’ lead to 55:45 at break.
The Thunder continued the rally in the first minutes of the second half. Rookie jumper Jeremiah Robinson-Earl put Oklahoma City 66-65.
The Thunder was leading 79-69 at the end of the third quarter. They outperformed the Spurs with 34-14 points during that period, led by Gilgeous-Alexander’s nine points. Oklahoma City made 13 of 24 field goals in the third.
San Antonio took the lead 84-83 before Bazley hit a corner with 3 pointers, then tossed a nasty one-handed put-back dunk with his elbow level to give the Thunder an 88-84 lead. Oklahoma City led the rest of the way.
Spurs: Got the first nine points of the game. … Dejounte Murray missed his first six shots and ended up only on 5 of 19. … Eubanks scored 10 points in the first half in 5v5. … Keita Bates-Diop hit the ground hard in the third quarter and held his lower back before leaving the court.
Donner: Missed her first seven shots. … only shot 6 for 26 from the field in the first quarter. … Muscala scored 14 points in seven minutes in the first half. He made all four of his field goals, including three 3-pointers. … held the Spurs in the third quarter for 7v26 shooting.
Spencer Greene, an 18-year-old from Norman, Oklahoma, shot a half-field shot during a break in play to win $ 20,000 from MidFirst Bank. The two-handed fling made out of the glass and made him the second winner this season.
TWO WAYS, TWO GAMES
Vit Krejci became the first player to play for Thunder and their G-League partner, Oklahoma City Blue, on the same day. According to The Thunder, it was the 59th time a G-League player played for his NBA team on the same day. Krejci had a defensive rebound in the Thunder win in six minutes and scored nine points in 26 minutes with the Blues in a 114-81 win over Salt Lake City.
Spurs guard Derrick White missed all 10 of his shots and scored no goal. He came into play with an average of 13.7 points.
Spurs: hosted the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.
Thunder: Visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday.
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