San Antonio Spurs News

Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder.

Jan 31, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (right) shoots the ball as San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Danny Green (14) and LaMarcus Aldridge (12) defend during the second half at AT&T Center. The Spurs won 108-94. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 31, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (right) shoots the ball as San Antonio Spurs shooting guard Danny Green (14) and LaMarcus Aldridge (12) defend during the second half at AT&T Center. The Spurs won 108-94. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
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The San Antonio Spurs will take their nine-game winning streak into Oklahoma City, as Kawhi Leonard looks to bolster his MVP stock against MVP candidate Russell Westbrook.

Kawhi Leonard versus Russell Westbrook.

That is how TNT will promote this prime-time matchup tonight in Oklahoma City. In their defense, it’s kind of hard not too, especially when you consider Westbrook’s supporting cast.

Just last game against the Portland TrailBlazers, Westbrook put up 58 points and nine assists, and the Thunder still come up short. That is unfortunate.

Spurs are a 3-point favorite tonight @ OKC.

Post All-Star Break:

OKC is 3-4.

Offense (107.5 Pp/100 – 14th) Defense (109.3 Pp/100 – 21st)

— Paul Garcia (@PaulGarciaNBA) March 9, 2017

While the Spurs enter this game on a nine-game winning streak, the Thunder enter this game on a four game losing streak. Although the 7th seed is essentially locked up for the Thunder, the losses are starting to hurt Westbrook’s MVP chances.

After being 10 games over .500 at 35-25, a loss tonight could put the Thunder at 35-30.

Previous Matchup

The Spurs and Thunder have only played once this season, back in January at the AT&T center. The Spurs beat the Thunder, 108-94.

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Westbrook led the Thunder, scoring 27 points on 7/17 shooting, along with 14 assists, and seven rebounds. Steven Adams, Victor Oladipo, Anthony Morrow, and Domantas Sabonis all had double-digits in scoring. Unfortunately, their defense let them down.

Leonard led the Spurs in scoring, putting up 36 points on 50% shooting, along with eight rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. LaMarcus Aldridge had one of his better games of the season, scoring 25 points on 8/15 shooting, along with six rebounds and three blocks. No other Spurs were in double figures.

The difference in the game was defense, and the Spurs locked up when necessary. The Thunder only managed to score 17 in the first quarter, and 19 in the fourth quarter. The Thunder shot 35.3% from the field, while the Spurs shot 43% from the field.

Current Matchup

Although the Spurs are on a back-to-back, a rested Leonard and Aldridge is bad news for the Thunder. Granted, the Spurs could start off slow as Leonard and Aldridge find their rhythm, but that’s the best chance the Thunder have.

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Westbrook is incredible, and he will put up his numbers against virtually any defense. However, given his supporting cast, and tendency to turn the ball over, the one-man game is a recipe for disaster against the team-oriented Spurs.

If the Thunder do have a strength, it’s down-low, where Adams, Enes Kanter, and Taj Gibson cause havoc on the boards. The Thunder are first in the NBA in total rebounds at 55.9. The Spurs are 21st in the league at 51.2.

Offensively, the squads are nearly identical. The Spurs average 106.7 points per game, 11th in the NBA. The Thunder at 12th in the NBA at 106.3 points per game.

Defensively, however, the Spurs allow 98.3 points per game, second in the NBA. The Thunder are giving up 106.5 points per game, 21st in the NBA.

Final Prediction

The Thunder will keep this game close for a majority of the game, since they are hungry for a victory, and playing at home on national television.

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  • However, when it comes crunch time, the Spurs will make the necessary stops on defense, and execute the proper calls on offense.

    The Thunder can expect a heavy dose of Leonard and Aldridge, since they are rested. It’s also worth noting that only one player played more than 30 minutes last night, and it was David Lee. So, in reality, the Spurs weren’t over-worked considering a 28-point comeback.

    Not to mention, the Golden State Warriors lost to the Boston Celtics at home last night, cutting their first place lead to just 1.5 games. With a win tonight, the Spurs can cut the deficit to just ONE game.

    The Spurs play the Warriors at home on Saturday, and could potentially take over-first place with a win in that game.

    I’m no rocket scientist, but one has to assume that Gregg Popovich has told his team how possible over-taking first place is, and the Spurs will keep their eyes on the prize.

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    Westbrook has a triple-double, and Leonard goes over 30 again.

    Spurs win, 104-96.

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