Thunder (20-53, 6-30 road) at San Antonio Spurs (48-25, 26-11 home)
TV: FS Oklahoma (Cox 37)
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM)
Time: 7:30 CST
Offensive Rating: Thunder: 103.1 (28th), San Antonio: 108.2 (13th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder: 109.2 (20th), San Antonio: 103.9 (5th)
Pace: Thunder: 93.6 (8th), San Antonio: 88.5 (26th)
A stat to consider: The Spurs are 28-10 when their “big three” of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili play. And Ginobili is back and expected to play tonight. Awesome.
We all remember last time, a defining 78-76 win over San Antonio in which OKC shot 36 percent from the field, was outrebounded and trailed at one point by 17 and yet somehow won. In that game all five Thunder starters were minuses while the entire bench was pluses. A strange but excellent win. One big helper in the last game was the Spurs went 3-19 for three. They’re a good shooting team and OKC can’t expect that kind of performance again.
And the Thunder’s going to have to grind another one if they intend to win again. San Antonio is the best defensive team in the league and the OKC offense has sputtered a bit lately. The Thunder hasn’t scored 100 points in 15 games after topping the century mark in seven of 10 before that.
Part of the reason is that Kevin Durant has stalled a bit. In his last two he’s scored 39 points total on 10-28 shooting. Very un-Durantula like. He was an absolute scoring machine before he turned his ankle and I think he’s had trouble re-acclimating himself to the flow of the game a bit while also trying to really focus on his defense. And he’ll have another tough challenge tonight with Michael Finley, Ime Udoka and Bruce Bowen all combining to try and lock him down.
A lot of OKC’s problem is just shot making. Against Boston, Russell Westbrook did an excellent job of setting up teammates for solid looks. They just didn’t make them. And Westbrook will have his hands full again as Tony Parker has scored 50 points in two games against OKC (while Westbrook has 10 total in the two games). Last time, after Parker erupted for a 12 quick points in the third quarter Thabo Sefolosha switched over on him and did an excellent job of locking him down and forcing him into a 1 for 6 finish.
The Spurs are also 26-11 at home while the Thunder are 6-30 on the road. The Spurs need this one to keep pace for the two-seed in the West and the Thunder’s lost three straight. So early returns are looking bad.
Tip at 7:30 CST. Go Oklahoma City Thunder.