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Jackson Explodes, Lifts Thunder Past Spurs

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

Everyone has a bad day at the office, even Russell Westbrook. Fortunately for the Thunder, Reggie Jackson worked overtime.

Jackson matched his career-high with 23 points on 10-14 shooting to lift Oklahoma City to a 94-88 win Wednesday night, snapping the Spurs' 11-game winning streak. 

RELATED STORY: Instant Analysis: Thunder Snaps Spurs' 11-Game Winning Streak

The Spurs got off to a strong start, but the Thunder wouldn't let it get away.  Trailing 21-14 with less than a minute left in the first quarter, OKC ended the period on with a Jeremy Lamb 3-ball and a running layup by Steven Adams. In fact, things could have been much worse. San Antonio shot just 1-11 from downtown in the first quarter (9 percent).

Led by its sixth man in Jackson, Oklahoma City picked things up a bit in the second quarter. Jackson scored nine points in as many minutes in the second, helping the Thunder keep up with the hot-shooting Kawhi Leonard and San Antonio. Leonard led the Spurs with 13 points and four boards at the half, while Tony Parker chipped in 10. Kevin Durant's 11 points and eight boards also helped keep the Thunder afloat despite the horrid shooting of Westbrook. Westbrook shot just 1-11 from the floor and 0-4 from 3-point range as the Thunder trailed 46-43 at the break.

RELATED STORY: Coach & Player Quotes After Thunder Beats Spurs

Oklahoma City looked like a new team in the third quarter, opening the second half on a 16-6 run to take a 59-52 lead. Thanks to explosions from Serge Ibaka and Lamb, the Thunder outscored San Antonio 25-15 in the third and took control of Wednesday's showdown. Ibaka scored 10 in the third alone, while Lamb hit back-to-back buckets to bring the crowd to its feet and help OKC seize the momentum.

RELATED STORY: Faith Rewarded: Ibaka Showing OKC Extension Was Right Move

In the fourth, it was once again Jackson's turn to put the Thunder on his back. After Derek Fisher opend the period with a jumper, Jackson scored eight straight Thunder points as OKC built its lead all the way to 11 at 78-67 with 8:45 to play.

But you just knew the Spurs wouldn't die easily. San Antonio immediately responded with a 9-1 spurt to get right back in it at 79-76.

It remained close until the 2:56 mark, where Durant finally gave the Thunder the play it was looking for. Despite not shooting a free throw the entire night, Durant charged through the paint and finished with a foul, putting the Thunder up 86-77 and bringing Chesapeake Energy Arena to a raucous ovation.

Jackson scored 14 of his 23 in the fourth to help ensure the Thunder victory.

Kendrick Perkins praised the young Thunder backcourt for stepping up when the Thunder needed them.

"Reggie (Jackson) & (Jeremy) Lamb as far as scoring, they came in and gave us a huge spark," Perkins said. "I thought it was an overall good team win."

Perhaps the most encouraging sign for the Thunder is that it won despite one of the worst shooting performances of Westbrook's career. Westbrook shot just 2-16 and 0-5 from deep, but Lamb and Jackson picked him up with 15-21 shooting for 35 points.

Jackson spoke humbly after the game, saying he and Lamb simply step in when needed.

"We all try and pick up the next man," Jackson said.  "(We're) just another athletic backcourt that's always in attack mode, just trying to find shots for ourselves and for others." 

Perkins was also impressed by his teammates ability to overcome Westbrook's rough night.

"Character is the word," Perkins said.  "We showed a lot of character tonight. We didn't play well offensively and coach said we looked tired offensively but that's because they run their sets so hard at the offensive end.   I think we did a pretty good job of locking in defensively, top through bottom everybody came in and gave us something positive. Sometimes you've gotta take an ugly win but it was a grind-out win and I thought we dug deep." 

The Thunder shot 46.4 percent from the floor to the Spurs' 39.1.  San Antonio finished just 7-27 (25.9 percent) from deep. 

Durant praised Jackson, explaining that the big-time performance from the Thunder's sixth man didn't come as a surprise to him.

"He was aggressive all night, getting to the rim," Durant said.  "That's what he does, nobody can stay in front of him.  That's what we need from him, he gave us a nice spark.  He gets so low on his drives, he's so quick.  He had and unbelievable game tonight, it's something that we expect from him.  I'm looking forward to him having great games down the line."

The Thunder improved to 10-3 and is 4-0 on its current six-game homestand.  San Antonio fell to 13-2. 

Next up for the Thunder is a Friday-night showdown with the Golden State Warriors. Golden State beat the Thunder 116-115 earlier this season.

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