San Antonio Spurs (19-6, 11-4 road ) vs. OKC Thunder (19-4, 13-2 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 114.0 (1st), Spurs– 109.3 (5th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 104.0 (12th), Spurs – 101.2 (4th)
Pace: Thunder – 91.9 (15th), Spurs – 94.3 (3rd)
View from the enemy: 48 Minutes of Hell
Two big things that are important about this game: 1) The Thunder are two up on the Spurs in the loss column and could make it three with a win and 2) the Spurs took the first meeting so in terms of a tiebreaker, have a leg up already.
I genuinely think you can throw the first meeting out though. The Thunder were starting the process with a new team that night as both teams kicked off the season, OKC doing so just a few days after trading James Harden.
But there’s obviously some history here between the teams and even with the Spurs shorthanded, they’re very dangerous. And going down 0-2 to them in the regular season could complicate things in terms of seeding come April.
San Antonio coming in: The Spurs beat the Celtics on Saturday.
Three Big Things
1. Missing Spurs. No Ginobili, no Stephen Jackson (aww), no Kawhi Leonard. Which means the Spurs absolutely no one on their roster that has a good chance of checking KD. Danny Green will get most of the assignment, but he’s giving up size and strength, and doesn’t really have the athleticism to handle it. The Spurs will have a plan, because they’re coached by Gregg Popovich, but Durant could be set for a big night.
2. Thabo and TP. The Thunder went mostly with Russell Westbrook on Parker in the first meeting. Will they use the secret Thabo weapon this time around, or go with Westbrook again?
3. Perimeter. The Spurs are going to take, and make, a lot of 3s. They’re awesome at the drive and kick. The Thunder have gotten better at defending that, but it has to be a focus again. The Spurs attempt 22.4 a game, making 8.5. Gary Neal, Green, Matt Bonner — there are serious weapons on the outside that can equalize the game because three points is greater than two.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Eleven.