San Antonio Spurs (23-13, 6-7 road) vs. Okla. City Thunder (21-16, 11-8 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 106.1 (20th), Spurs– 111.5 (4th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.4 (7th), Spurs – 104.2 (8th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.4 (17th), Spurs– 91.2 (25th)
View from the enemy: 48 Minutes of Hell
A note: While discussing the game this evening, please keep your language clean. Please.
I’m ready for a statement. There have already been a few (Orlando, at Phoenix) but this one would catch some attention, especially with the team being five games over right now. No longer would it be seen as a “Oh, that’s cool. The Thunder surprised the Spurs,” but maybe now it would be, ” Oh man, this Thunder team is serious.”
The good (and bad) thing about it is, OKC has a couple chances to make that statement this week with games against San Antonio tonight, Dallas and Miami. So as exciting as it could be to win even one of the three (honestly they should win one of the three) there is a real possibility to drop three straight. But at home in front of what promises to be a jacked up crowd, against a team you’ve beat once on the road and that also played last night, this is an opportunity.
The Spurs coming in: San Antonio walloped the Lakers at the AT&T Center last night and have won two straight. The Spurs have also won 8 of 10 overall and sit third in the West. (OKC is actually just three games behind San Antonio.)
It’s got to be understood, there’s nothing really Oklahoma City can do to match up on Tim Duncan. He’s Tim Duncan and he’s one of the greatest ever and he’s having one of his best seasons ever. Jeff Green will be overmatched. Nick Collison will certainly work hard, but I mean, come on. Serge Ibaka has the size and athleticism to match up with Duncan, but Ibaka’s IQ isn’t high enough to stick with Timmy I think.
But the key will be limiting the other positions. Russell Westbrook needs to at least push the matchup with Tony Parker. I love Kevin Durant against Richard Jefferson, both offensively and defensively, though Thabo will surely see time on both Parker and Jefferson. Keeping DeJuan Blair off the offensive glass will definitely be a key.
San Antonio’s bench is extremely deep and in the games OKC has won against the Spurs, San Antonio didn’t shoot well from 3. So perimeter defense and hitting the glass are the two biggest keys for the Thunder tonight.
Win or lose, we know this Thunder team is good. But the further we get into this season, the more these type of home games mean. Right now, OKC is just 2-9 against current West playoff teams. Granted, one of those wins is against the Spurs, but that says the Thunder’s beating teams comparable or worse than them, and not stepping into the next tier. A game like this would be a step in that direction. By no means will I be flipping over tables and shaking my fist in anger if OKC loses, but it would be nice to keep the momentum going (8-2 in the last 10!) and do it by beating a contender.
Tip at 7:00 CST. Go Statement.