Oklahoma City Thunder (4-4, 2-2 road) at San Antonio Spurs (4-3, 4-0 home)
View from the enemy: 48 Minutes of Hell
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 101.0 (22nd), Spurs – 113.2 (3rd)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 97.3 (3rd), Spurs – 110.2 (25th)
Pace: Thunder – 90.6 (25th), Spurs – 90.5 (26th)
Everybody had visions of going to San Antonio 5-3. It would have been a really nice buffer. That way you know you’re coming home at least a game over .500. Now, at 4-4, Oklahoma City has got to win in San Antonio to achieve that. Just not the position we wanted to be in.
But here’s what’s encouraging: The Thunder can play the Spurs game. The Thunder is ready and willing to play an ugly, defensive game where points don’t come easy. In fact, OKC may be better equipped because of some of the injury concerns with the Spurs. And if you look, OKC is actually statistically far and away better defensively than San Antonio. The Spurs have been great offensively and poor on the other end. OKC has been the exact opposite, efficiency wise. Interesting.
Both Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are listed as questionable. So who knows what’s going to happen there. Regardless, the Spurs are a good team even without them. The addition of Richard Jefferson has been so huge because he gives an added scoring dimension. We’ve all been impressed by Kevin Durant’s improved defense, but this is probably the best offensive guy he’s had to go against.
I like the shooting guard matchup because it’s defender versus defender. It actually wouldn’t shock me if Thabo guarded Jefferson and Durant matched up against Bogans. If Duncan doesn’t play, DeJuan Blair will likely start so I’m really interested how Jeff Green plays against the undersized, physical Blair.
Russell Westbrook will have George Hill on him which won’t be easy because Hill is an athletic defender. I’m sure Russ is looking to rebound after a poor showing in Los Angeles. Two of Westbrook’s best games last year were against San Antonio.
So much of this game will depend on balanced scoring from the Spurs with Manu Ginobili leading the way. The Spurs are 4-0 this season at home and are never easy to beat at the AT&T Center. Even without Duncan and Parker, the Spurs are still a solid team and this won’t be easy. So I honestly don’t know what to expect.
Tip at 7:30. Go Thunders.