San Antonio Spurs (49-27, 23-15 road) vs. Thunder (21-55, 14-25 home)
TV: FS Oklahoma HD (Cox 37, HD 722)
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM)
Time: 7:00 CST
Offensive Rating: Thunder: 102.8 (29th), San Antonio: 108.4 (13th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder: 109.5 (20th), San Antonio: 104.5 (5th)
Pace: Thunder: 93.5 (8th), San Antonio: 88.5 (26th)
Boy, thank goodness we get to play the Spurs again. I was getting tired of all this losing crap.
Those last two games were rough. For a minute there I thought it was November again. It doesn’t help that one of the best teams in the league comes in after just suffering one of their biggest losses of the season in Cleveland and oh yeah, OKC’s beaten them the last two and kind of sort of embarrassed them so I think they’ll be playing with a little added vengeance. So that’s not good.
But with this Thunder team you can never tell. A game that seems like a gimme they lose by 15. A game that looks like they’ll have no shot, they win. So tonight? All bets are off.
Obviously thoughts are leaning toward the team playing with a lack of desire and want-to as they’ve really got nothing to play for except ping-pong balls. But Kevin Durant said otherwise.
“That’s absurd,” Durant told the Oklahoman. “That’s an insult to us. That’s unprofessional. There are a lot of words I could use to describe how that is. Nobody in this organization is thinking like that. I know we’ve had a bad last two games, but teams go through that. A lot of teams go through that, whether it’s early or late (in the season). We’re not mailing it in at all. We’re still coming in and working hard, trying to improve.”
Well, he’s saying the right thing. But let’s see some proof. The last two the team just looked uninterested. Sure there were guys giving some good effort at times (Russell Westbrook, looking at you) but as a whole the usual fervor wasn’t there. An NBA season is long and I could definitely see a team as young as the Thunder mentally wearing down as well as physically. I’m sure playing every night could take a toll. This isn’t forgiveness for the last two, but I’m just saying, it happens.
Regardless of what happens the rest of this season, I am really excited to watch Shaun Livingston and D.J. White. Something tells me both these guys are going to be solid contributors and it’s fun to get to take in the new guys. I get excited when I see them get up to go to the scorer’s table. Especially Livingston. I’ve been really impressed with him in his first two. White will get a good taste of big boy ball with a little alone time with Duncan. So that’ll be fun.
Manu Ginobili is done for the season so obviously he won’t play but all the usual suspects will be there. Westbrook did an excellent job on Tony Parker last week in San Antonio holding him to just eight points on 4-8 shooting. Tim Duncan had 21 and 12 the last time out and will be fairly well rested after having a couple days off. We’ve seen the Spurs quite a bit here the last few weeks so there’s not much to breakdown that we don’t already know. Get ready to play tough defense, grind out possessions and if you want to be in it, you’ve got to stop them.
So even though the Spurs have every reason in the world to win tonight, I truly don’t know what to expect. On one hand it makes sense for OKC to come out with fire while the Spurs are flat without Manu. On the other the Spurs could be out for blood because of the last two games and the blowout loss in Cleveland while OKC is bummed out. Who know. I guess that’s why we’ll watch.
Tip is at 7:00. Go Thunders.