Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/2/12
SAN ANTONIO -- It's only the beginning of the NBA season, but for the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs, it was as if the playoffs never ended. Tony Parker hit a 22-foot jumper at the buzzer to give the Spurs an 86-84 win over the Thunder on Thursday night at the AT&T Center. The Spurs trailed 84-81 before Parker hit a clutch 3-pointer with 28seconds left. Before the Thunder took a shot, San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard stole the ball from Russell Westbrook, and Spurs center Tim Duncan quickly called a timeout. Then Parker, who finished with 14 points and 11 assists, hit the game-winner. "I felt confident the whole game," Parker said. "I was just trying to be smart and get my teammates open, and Boris found me for the 3. I knocked it down. (Coach Gregg Popovich) drew the (final) play, and I had the confidence to knock it down." Duncan led the Spurs with 20 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Danny Green added 13 points for San Antonio, Steven Jackson had 11, and Boris Diaw scored 10. The game was a rematch of last season's Western Conference finals. The Thunder came back from a 2-0 deficit and snapped San Antonio's 20-game winning streak en route to winning the series in six games. Oklahoma City no longer has one of its key players from that series, James Harden. He was traded to the Houston Rockets on Saturday. Guard Kevin Martin, one of the players the Thunder acquired in the Harden deal, had 15 points Thursday. Martin hit a 3-pointer with 3:31 left to tie the score at 80. Durant, the reigning NBA scoring champ, had a game-high 23 points and 14 rebounds. Westbrook added 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists for Oklahoma City. "We just kept fighting," Durant said. "We made plays on both ends, but you have to give them credit. The Spurs made big plays and some big shots." The Thunder scored 10 points in the final four minutes of the third quarter, and they tied it entering the final quarter with Eric Maynor's 54-footer at the buzzer. "It was a highly contested game," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "I love these games. We love them and they love them. We should feel a little down, but we won't, and we'll come back tomorrow night and give the same type of effort." Duncan had six of the Spurs' last nine points to end the first half, giving San Antonio a 45-40 lead at the break. Duncan had 12 points and five rebounds in the half. The Spurs, coming off a 99-95 road win against the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday, struggled out of the gate against the youthful Thunder. Oklahoma City quickly jumped to a 8-0 lead but cooled in the second quarter, shooting 6-for-23 (26 percent). Durant kept the Thunder in the game with 12 first-half points. Both teams traded blows in the first half, which featured four ties and nine lead changes. "It's a good win for us. It's a tough back-to-back," Parker said. "Now we have to be over that. It's going to be a long season; it's only the second game. It's a good win against a good team." NOTES: Spurs guard Manu Ginobili sat out his second consecutive game with back spasms. "He's really close," Popovich said before tip-off. "I think he'll be OK for the weekend. He missed the game (Wednesday) night, and it doesn't make much sense to play him when he hasn't practiced." ... Though the Thunder did not win the NBA championship, the team does feature two gold medalists: Durant and Westbrook were members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic squad. ... The Spurs sported new home uniforms, the first in the NBA without any lettering on the front. ... Duncan passed Charles Barkley for 17th place on the NBA's all-time rebounding list. Barkley had 12,546 rebounds in his career. Duncan has 12,552.
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