San Antonio Spurs (7-1, 3-0 road) vs. OKC Thunder (5-3, 3-2 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 107.8 (11th), Spurs – 111.2 (3rd)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 111.0 (29th), Spurs – 103.9 (8th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.8 (17th), Spurs – 95.7 (9th)
View from the enemy: 48 Minutes of Hell
UPDATE: Jeff Green reportedly will start tonight and Nick Collison will play.
Let’s be honest here. Winning this one seems like it will be pretty darn difficult. This San Antonio team has been nothing short of outstanding thus far. They’ve lost just once and it was to the undefeated Hornets. And their wins have been mostly of the impressive, decisive variety. Considering that the Thunder still is figuring itself out and that the Spurs are a smart, veteran and well-disciplined team, this honestly feels a bit like the Utah Jazz game from two weeks ago.
Plus, add in the fact that the last two Sunday home games, the Thunder’s been nothing short of awful. So across the board, this might be a tough one.
San Antonio coming in: The Spurs have won six straight, but last played last night against the 76ers at home. Tim Duncan has sat out some back-to-backs but he’s supposedly going to be ready to go tonight.
The fear for me, is that DeJuan Blair will grab 25 rebounds and terrorize OKC on the offensive glass. He’s an animal on the interior and Oklahoma City just really doesn’t have anyone that will assert himself and make it his mission to knocked Blair off the boards. Jeff Green is expected to miss again tonight, though he’s listed as questionable. Whether he plays or Serge Ibaka gets another start, the Spurs have a quality inside tandem of Tim Duncan and Blair.
Richard Jefferson has been pretty terrific for the Spurs so far, hitting a high percentage of 3-pointers and scoring the ball well. He’s not a tremendous defender so Kevin Durant should have an opportunity to get some looks, but Jefferson’s scoring has kind of become the x-factor for the Spurs this season.
Of course it’s Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili in the backcourt against Russell Westbrook and Thabo Sefolosha. Parker has done well against Westbrook, but Westbrook often returns the favor. In the past though, we’ve seen Thabo switch on to Parker in the late stages if Parker is in score mode.
This is another one of those games where the Thunder either needs a massive effort from Durant and Westbrook or some help from the bench. It’s absolutely a winnable game because this Thunder team is obviously good enough to win. I’m just not totally sure they’re ready to play at a consistently high level game to game.
Tip at 6:00 CT. Go Sunday Thunder.