SAN ANTONIO (AP) The San Antonio Spurs got an unexpected battle in their final home game of the season Tuesday night.
But they found a way to win, just as they have in all but one home game this season at the AT&T Center.
Kawhi Leonard had 26 points and San Antonio rallied to beat the short-handed Oklahoma City Thunder 102-98 in overtime to finish 40-1 at home this season, matching an NBA record. The Boston Celtics had the same record in 1985-86.
”You know, it’s one of the legendary teams with Larry Bird, (Kevin) McHale and (Robert) Parrish,” Spurs point guard Tony Parker said. ”So it’s pretty good. It’s not easy to lose one game the whole season (at home).”
San Antonio was lethargic coming off its first home loss of the season to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday. The Spurs never led in the final quarter in that loss and trailed throughout much of their home finale.
Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan rested stars Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka in their regular-season finale while San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich started his regular lineup.
The Thunder were still able to force the first overtime in San Antonio this season.
”There’s a way that you’re used to playing a team and knowing who’s on the floor,” Leonard said. ”So, you have to get used to different bodies to guard.”
Thunder guard Dion Waiters completed a three-point play to tie the game at 93 with 16.2 seconds remaining. Waiters was fouled by David West driving into the lane for a layup after Payne ran down a long rebound following his own miss. Leonard missed a jumper at the close of regulation.
”The ball kind of slipped out of my hand and I felt like I still got a good shot off,” Leonard said. ”But it was just short.”
Leonard had six points in overtime and Parker added three as the Spurs avoided their fourth straight loss overall and second straight at home.
LaMarcus Aldridge exited 3 minutes into the third quarter and didn’t return.
”LaMarcus is our main guy on the team,” Leonard said. ”Him going out, not feeling too good, we definitely had to pick up our energy on the offensive end.”
The Thunder got 17 points each from Waiter, Enes Kanter, Steven Adams and Cameron Payne.
Oklahoma City had a 23-4 run bridging the first and second quarters in taking an 18-point lead. Kanter opened the run with his 10th 3-pointer of the season.
San Antonio aided the run by committing five turnovers and missing 11 shots, including four layup attempts.
”It was just our energy,” Adams said. ”Everything. Our flow, everyone knew what everyone was doing. Made them make a lot of mistakes on their ends. We just came out swinging.”
Led by Patty Mills and Boban Marjanovic, the bench gave San Antonio its first lead since it was 19-18 with 4 minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Spurs took a 74-72 lead when Marjanovic tapped in Mills’ short lob pass to the rim and made the free throw to complete a three-point play.
WHEN YOU GOTTA GO
Popovich said Aldridge left the game because he needed to use the restroom.
”He’s fine,” Popovich said. ”He went in to take a leak.”
Considering the break lasted most of the second half, Popovich was again pressed to explain Aldridge’s absence.
”Let me say it differently,” Popovich said. ”He went into the locker room and used the latrine.”
Thunder: Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka were not in attendance, remaining in Oklahoma City following Monday’s home victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. … The Thunder split their four-game season series with the Spurs, opened and closed their season against San Antonio. Oklahoma City rallied to win its season opener 112-106 on Oct. 28 at home.
Spurs: Veteran Boris Diaw missed his fifth straight game with a sore right abductor muscle. The Spurs were 1-3 without their versatile forward. … G Manu Ginobili sat out the game for rest. The 38-year-old veteran missed 22 games this season, including 12 straight following testicle surgery in early February. … San Antonio is 26-7 in back-to-back games, including an 8-1 record in a home-road split. … West missed an open dunk after receiving a no-look, bounce pass from Marjanovic in the lane with about 3 minutes left in the third quarter.
Thunder: Regular season completed.
Spurs: At Dallas on Wednesday.