OKC Thunder (18-4, 9-3 road) at San Antonio Spurs (15-9, 12-1 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 107.5 (3rd), Spurs– 106.5 (6th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 101.6 (13th), Spurs – 102.2 (16th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.1 (8th), Spurs – 90.6 (20th)
View from the enemy: 48 Minutes of Hell
Coming off a tough, physical game at home the Thunder have to head to San Antonio to take on the best home team in basketball. It’s not that Oklahoma City is still in the statement-making business anymore because plenty of statements have been made, but this could be one of those character building games.
It’s the best road record in basketball against the best home record. Tired, on the road and against a good team — it’s not going to be easy for the Thunder to be up and ready for this one.
San Antonio coming in: The Spurs are well rested having played Thursday against the Hornets, winning easily.
Three Big Things
1. Throw out the first one. The Thunder jumped 0ut to a quick lead on the Spurs in OKC in the first meeting and just ran San Antonio out of the building. Gregg Popovich sensed it coming in the third and sat all his main players for most of the second half, essentially conceding the blowout. But the Spurs are better than they played that night and will be ready for OKC tonight.
2. Defending the perimeter. One of the things OKC did well and caught a break with as well was the Spurs didn’t shoot well from outside the first game. The Spurs are masters at the drive-and-kick game and will look to penetrate and fire out to open shooters. Without Thabo, an outstanding perimeter defender, OKC will have to hustle and contest everything.
3. Heavy legs. I already mentioned it, but this is the first back-to-back the Thunder have played in for a few weeks. OKC is a team that does well in back-to-backs, but the game against Memphis last night was tough and physical. Both Westbrook and Durant played more than 40 minutes last night, so OKC’s going to have to dig a little deep.
Tip at 7:30 CT. Go Team Thunder.