Williams scores 27 points, Thunder push Spurs’ skid to 9

Nov 30, 2022, 5:39 AM | Updated: 9:20 pm
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jalen Williams (8) fouls San Antonio Spurs guard Malaki Branham (22) ...

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jalen Williams (8) fouls San Antonio Spurs guard Malaki Branham (22) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

              Oklahoma City Thunder forward Luguentz Dort, left, knocks the ball away from San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in Oklahoma City. Thunder's Aaron Wiggins is at right. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
            
              San Antonio Spurs guard Devin Vassell (24) reaches for the ball held by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Luguentz Dort, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
            
              Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jalen Williams (8) fouls San Antonio Spurs guard Malaki Branham (22) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City didn’t have star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander against San Antoni. Jalen Williams’ spot-on imitation was good enough.

Williams scored a season-high 27 points and the Thunder overcame a 20-point second-half deficit to hand the Spurs their ninth straight loss, 119-111 on Wednesday night.

Gilgeous-Alexander, the league’s No. 3 scorer with 31.1 points per game, sat out with a bruised hip. Williams stepped up, scoring 20 points on 8-for-8 shooting in the second half.

“He was big-time,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “He was really good. Continues to get better.”

Williams even hit a clutch jumper like Alexander often does. With the Thunder up 113-111, Williams’ short pullup jumper bumped the lead to four with 30.8 seconds to play and put Oklahoma City in control for good. The 6-foot-6 guard made 11 of 15 shots overall and had six rebounds.

Daigneault said Williams has great potential.

“He strong, he’s tough, he’s smart and he’s got great length and size,” Daigneault said. “Once his fundamentals catch up to the rest of those ingredients, he’s going to be a really great defensive player, too.”

Lu Dort scored 23 points and Josh Giddey added 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Thunder.

Devin Vassell scored 25 points and Keldon Johnson added 19 for the Spurs, who shot 28% in the second half.

“The purpose we had in the first half – it just dissipated in the second half,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.

San Antonio led 77-60 at halftime after shooting 64% from the field. Vassell scored 16 points before the break and Johnson added 13. The Spurs led 96-88 heading into the fourth.

A steal and layup by Tre Mann tied the game at 98 early in the fourth quarter, and the game was tight from there.

Daigneault said the Thunder came out with the right approach in the second half.

“We just had way more of a care factor, and we were way tougher,” he said. “We shut the paint off, shut the glass off, contested everything. We were not as tough as we aspire to be at all in the first half.”

San Antonio shot just 30.4% in the fourth quarter.

“Forty-eight minutes is a long time,” Popovich said. “We’ve had a lot of good halves or 2 1/2 quarters and all that, but rarely have we put four quarters of fundamental, sound defense and basketball together. Part of it’s a young team. But they’re a young team too, and they did it. They deserve credit.”

NO SHEA

It was the second time this season the Thunder played without Gilgeous-Alexander. The first time, Oklahoma City lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-106 in the third game of the season.

LU DORT

Dort had one of his best offensive games of the season.

Oklahoma City’s No. 3 scorer for the season made 7 of 15 field goals against San Antonio, including 3 of 7 3-pointers. He fell one point of his season high, which he had reached twice.

TIP-INS

Spurs: F Isaiah Roby, who started 62 games for the Thunder the previous two years, was cheered when he entered the game. He finished with four points and five rebounds in 17 minutes. … G Josh Richardson missed his fourth straight game with a sprained right ankle. … F Doug McDermott left the game in the second half with ankle soreness.

Thunder: F/C Mike Muscala sat out with a fractured left pinky finger. … Made 12 of 23 field goals in the third quarter to get back into the game. … Mann scored 16 points.

UP NEXT

Spurs: Host New Orleans on Friday night.

Thunder: At Minnesota on Saturday night.

___

Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: twitter.com/CliffBruntAP

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant (7) looks to drive against Chicago Bulls' Coby White (0) during ...
Associated Press

Reports: Suns get All-Star Kevin Durant in trade with Nets

PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Suns pulled a midnight blockbuster on Wednesday, acquiring 13-time All-Star Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets, according to multiple reports. The outlets, citing unnamed sources, said the Suns added Durant to a starting lineup that already includes an All-Star backcourt of Chris Paul and Devin Booker, along with center Deandre […]
1 day ago
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, dribbles around Golden State Warriors forward An...
Associated Press

Lillard has triple-double, Blazers beat Warriors 125-122

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard had 33 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds as the Portland Trail Blazers rallied past the Golden State Warriors 125-122 on Wednesday night. It was just the second triple-double of Lillard’s career, and first this season. “I didn’t shoot the ball very well. But I think I approached the […]
1 day ago
Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving smiles as he warms up prior to an NBA basketball game against t...
Associated Press

Irving scores 24 in Dallas debut, leads Mavs over Clippers

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kyrie Irving came out charging in his Dallas debut, keying a big run to open the game and sparking his new teammates in front of a cheering Luka Doncic on the bench. Irving scored 24 points and the Mavericks never trailed in beating the Los Angeles Clippers 110-104 on Wednesday night. […]
1 day ago
Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) goes to the basket as Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McD...
Associated Press

T’wolves top Jazz in matchup of teams trading with Lakers

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Anthony Edwards scored 31 points and Jaylen Nowell added a career-high 30 to lead Minnesota to a 143-118 win over Utah on Wednesday night amid word the Timberwolves, Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers were part of an eight-player swap hours ahead of the NBA trade deadline. “It was crazy, the […]
1 day ago
Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn (14) is congratulated after scoring during the second period of t...
Associated Press

Benn breaks scoreless tie early in 2nd, Stars top Wild 4-1

DALLAS (AP) — Captain Jamie Benn broke a scoreless tie 23 seconds into the second period of his 1,001st career game, and the Dallas Stars beat the Minnesota Wild 4-1 on Wednesday night. Benn’s 20th goal on a perfect feed from 19-year-old rookie Wyatt Johnston started a three-goal second for the Western Conference-leading Stars. Radek […]
1 day ago
Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green (4) signals after making a 3-point shot, next to Sacramento Kings...
Associated Press

Fox’s late FTs gives Kings 130-128 win over Rockets

HOUSTON (AP) — De’Aaron Fox had 31 points, including three free throws with less than a second left, to lift the Sacramento Kings to a 130-128 win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. Fox missed a 3-pointer with .3 seconds left. But Eric Gordon fouled him to set up the game-winning free throws. “I […]
1 day ago
Williams scores 27 points, Thunder push Spurs’ skid to 9