Poor run against elite teams continues for Popovich.
There were 10 games on the NBA schedule on Wednesday night, with the Oklahoma City Thunder taking on the San Antonio Spurs in a huge Western Conference clash.
As has been the case for the past week or two, the San Antonio Spurs were the latest team to be unable to find a way to stop Kevin Durant as he had 36 points to counter Tony Parker’s season-high 37 as the Thunder came away with a 111-105 victory.
It was the third win of the season over the defending Western Conference champions, as Durant is now averaging 38.1 points in his last 11 games as OKC (33-10) move back to the summit of the Western conference with a five-game winning streak which has led to an 8-3 mark.
“Kevin did his thing down the stretch, it was pretty remarkable,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.
Reggie Jackson added a season-high 27 points as he continues to be able to score efficiently against the Spurs, while Tim Duncan also failed to come up with an answer on how to stop the pair down the stretch.
San Antonio (32-10) are now 1-9 against the West’s remaining top-five teams and the East’s best, and they received more bad news as Kawhi Leonard joined Danny Green and Thiago Splitter on the sidelines with injury after suffering a fractured hand.
Elsewhere, the Indiana Pacers allowed the most points in a game this season in their 124-100 loss to the Phoenix Suns which snapped their five-game winning streak.
However, point guard George Hill insisted that the loss was not a sign for panic or alarm, and believes that it was just a minor blip in what has been a terrific season so far for the team with the league’s best record.
“We spoil you guys with great defense,” he said, “so when you do have a bad game you think the world is going to end.”
Gerald Green led the Suns with 23 points while Goran Dragic added 21 points with four other player making it into double figures for the hosts.
Paul George responded with 26 points, but it wasn’t enough to avoid defeat although the Pacers still remain in control at 33-8 for the season.
Meanwhile, there was a win for the Chicago Bulls against Luol Deng and the Cleveland Cavaliers, with the former now 7-2 since trading their former star.
DeMar DeRozan had 40 points in the Toronto Raptors’ win over the Dallas Mavericks, but there was further misery for the New York Knicks who lost at home again, this time to the Philadelphia 76ers.
There was similar woe for the Sacramento Kings who not only fell to a 119-98 loss to the Houston Rockets, but both Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins were forced out of the game with injuries.
Los Angeles Clippers 91-95 Charlotte Bobcats
Chicago Bulls 98-87 Cleveland Cavaliers
Atlanta Hawks 112-109 Orlando Magic
Dallas Mavericks 85-93 Toronto Raptors
Boston Celtics 113-111 Washington Wizards
Philadelphia 76ers 110-106 New York Knicks
Sacramento Kings 98-119 Houston Rockets
Detroit PIstons 101-104 Milwaukee Bucks
Oklahoma City Thunder 111-105 San Antonio Spurs
Indiana Pacers 100-124 Phoenix Suns