The Austin Spurs seemed to have figured out the Oklahoma City Blue.
The Spurs walked off the floor feeling good leading the Blue 53-45 and only committing two turnovers.
But the second half turned into a nightmare. A 7-1 run after the break put Oklahoma City back into the contest and then bottom fell out for Austin. The Blue finished off the comeback with a 26-17 final quarter to hand the Spurs a 95-91 defeat Friday night.
Mitch McGary led the way for Oklahoma City despite limited minutes. McGary, a power forward from the Thunder, saw limited action after picking up five fouls in less than 10 minutes, but scored 14 points in just over 12 minutes of action.
This loss is the second straight defeat since the All-Star break where the Spurs failed to maintain a fourth-quarter lead.
A tight rotation of eight players during Friday’s contest made it difficult for Austin to keep their foot on the gas during the fourth quarter. The Spurs finished with zero free throw attempts in the final quarter and ended up with nine turnovers.
“We’ve been looking for the key components down the stretch,” shooting guard Keifer Sykes said. “There has definitely been a learning curve with only eight players in the rotation, but it’s something we’ll have to look at in film.”
Sykes, who tied a career high of 28 points, was the bright spot in the game for Austin. He recorded 14 points in the first quarter alone.
“Coming out, Coach wanted me to be more aggressive,” Sykes said. “I saw a couple of them go down, and I just wanted to keep it going tonight.”
Sykes leads an inexperienced Spurs team, that is without their top eight leaders in points per game this season. Since players including Orlando Johnson and Ray McCallum have been called up for NBA assignments, the Spurs look to their younger members to build on the strong start Austin established at the beginning of the season.
“Knowing there we had so many good players to start the season, and losing those guys and adjusting,” Sykes said. “We kind of took a step back, but we’re finding ourselves.”
The Spurs and Blue square off again Saturday at 7 p.m. in Cedar Park.