The San Antonio Spurs (31-23) return to the AT&T Center after a long road trip to take on the red hot Oklahoma City Thunder (33-22). The game is at 8:30 EST/7:30 Central time and can be seen on FSN Southwest and listened to on 1200 WOAI-AM.
Season Series: Oklahoma City 101, San Antonio 98, Nov. 14 at the AT&T Center
San Antonio 109, Oklahoma City 108 (OT), Jan. 13 at the Ford Center
These teams will play once more after this game, March 22 in Oklahoma City.
Trends: The Spurs return home after a 4-4 road trip and overall have won 5 out of their last 10 games. The Thunder have won 9 of the last 10 games and have won 7 of their past 10 road games.
Injuries: Tony Parker is day-to-day with a mild strain of the Left Iliopsoas for the Spurs. Kyle Weaver (shoulder) and DJ White (thumb) are out for the Thunder.
Leading Scorers and Notable Players: The Spurs are lead by Tim Duncan at 19.1 points per game. DeJuan Blair is averaging 17.5 points and 11 rebounds against the Thunder. Kevin Durant leads the Thunder in scoring at 29.9 points a game and has scored 30 or more in 16 of the past 21 games. Russell Westbrook is 8th in the NBA in assists, averaging 7.7 per game.
Oklahoma City is the hottest team in the NBA coming in to tonight’s game in San Antonio. Though they had their 9 game win streak snapped last night in Phoenix, they’re a young team playing at a high level. They’ve been doing it with offense as the Thunder have scored over 100 points in 8 of the last 10 games. The team is led by Durant, Westbrook and fellow lottery pick Jeff Green. Those 3 play significant minutes and are the only players on the Thunder to average more than 10 points per game. For the Spurs to win, they’ll need to use their depth to an advantage. This means throwing as many different players and defensive schemes at these 3 as possible. They’re still young players and young players can be prone to making dumb plays.
In both games, the Spurs were lead in scoring by forwards, Duncan in the 1st and Blair in the 2nd. The Thunder are undersized at power forward as Green is only 6’9″ and neither him nor Durant are great defenders yet. Defensively, you have to accept that Durant is going to score but the key is to make him take a lot of shots to get his points. If San Antonio can do this and rebound well, it’ll take opportunities away from the rest of their team.
Forecast: 20% chance of Ian Mahinmi. Most of the Thunder’s recent losses have been by 4 points or less and both games between these teams have been close. Unless an injury happens, Ian will probably be stuck on the bench tonight.