The Oklahoma City Thunder are coming to town in what is a great bounce-back opportunity for the San Antonio Spurs
Coming off of a disappointing, lackluster loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, the San Antonio Spurs will look to right the ship when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight. Oklahoma City is a vastly different team than they were at this point last year. Still, the Thunder are a challenging opponent. This will not be an easy win for the Spurs.
The biggest change for Oklahoma City this summer was their swap of Russell Westbrook for Chris Paul. Moving on from Westbrook signaled the end of an era in OKC but this team is still tough as nails. It’s actually Paul’s second stint in Oklahoma, he briefly played in OKC while he was with the New Orleans Hornets. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Hornets and a rookie CP3 spent two seasons in Oklahoma.
This year Paul has been steady for the Thunder, averaging close to 16 points a game while also connecting on 45.5 percent of his three-point attempts. In the second half of the Hawks game, the Spurs were sliced and diced by Trae Young, Paul will be a similarly difficult assignment for San Antonio’s guards.
OKC was backed into a corner by Paul George‘s off-season trade request but they made the best of the hand they were dealt. In their deal with the Clippers, they were able to acquire a truckload of picks, as well as what looks like their point guard of the future.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was a promising rookie last year but a change of scenery and increased playing time has done wonders for him. He’s more than doubled his scoring average from 10.8 points per game last year to an impressive 22.1 per game this year. He’s also connecting on 41 percent of his three-point attempts and is aggressively going after rebounds. Paul will test the Spurs guards but their challenge of containing Gilgeous-Alexander will be the more entertaining matchup to watch.
Spread: San Antonio Spurs -4.5
Intriguing Prop Bets: none
All betting information is courtesy of The Action Network.
It’s a bit early to call any game a “must-win” but this one is close. After disappointing losses to the Lakers and Hawks, the Spurs desperately need to get things figured out. They will need to come out strong to avoid falling into their first three-game losing streak of the season.
For that reason, I really like the Spurs to cover the spread tonight. It would be nice to see a big outing from LaMarcus Aldridge. He’s had a slow start to the season but did set a career-high in points against the Thunder last year. A big game from him tonight could be just what San Antonio needs to snap them out of their funk, as well as come away with a win.
Games between these two teams have always been tightly contested. While the rosters look vastly different than last year, the level of competition should stay the same. The two teams will go at it in the AT&T Center at 7:30 PM CST tonight.