The San Antonio Spurs (24-31) look to have a repeat performance from their previous matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder (34-22).
The San Antonio Spurs look to end the dreaded Rodeo Road Trip on a high note with a victory against the Chris Paul-led Oklahoma City Thunder. In their last matchup before the All-Star break, the Spurs came away with a 114-106 victory. Defensive juggernaut Dejounte Murray tied a team-high in scoring with 25 points alongside power forward/center LaMarcus Aldridge.
In their quest for the 8th seed in the Western Conference, the Spurs need every win they can get. They are currently 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies, who continue to struggle with the most difficult schedule in the league. In order to make sure that their previous victory against the Utah Jazz doesn’t go to waste, the Spurs will need to contain Paul, who scored 31 points along with seven assists in the game before that.
Paul played well in his last game against the Denver Nuggets, logging 29 points and showing no signs of slowing down. The Spurs will need to utilize their defensive-minded point guards Dejounte Murray and Derrick White to slow Paul down.
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The tandem of White and Murray recently sealed a victory in Utah when they were together for six minutes to close the 4th quarter. The Spurs’ fan base is hoping to see more of their defensive anchors doing what they do best, at the same time.
Another up-and-coming star that will display his offensive prowess is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Gilgeous-Alexander has been averaging 19.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game in his sophomore season. In the previous matchup with the Spurs, he scored 17 points and snagged five rebounds. The Spurs will need a similar effort from the previous outing to limit the 2nd year stud.
What will be different this time around is the Spurs will have a fully healthy DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan, who missed the game due to back spasms, will be back in full force. DeRozan scored 30 points in the January 2nd matchup versus the Thunder, but ultimately it wasn’t enough to win. The Spurs currently hold the lead on the season series with their two wins.
The Spurs had a good outing versus a playoff bound Utah Jazz on Friday night. If they continue with the same defensive intensity they displayed, then they should end the Rodeo Road Trip with a win against another playoff bound team.