Thunder (47-16, 19-12 road) at Spurs (48-15, 25-4 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 113.1 (1st), Spurs– 109.8 (7th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.9 (8th), Spurs – 100.8 (3rd)
Pace: Thunder – 93.6 (8th), Spurs – 94.3 (7th)
View from the enemy: 48 Minutes of Hell
So, this is a big game. That is, if you’ve concerned yourself with the top seed and homecourt in the West for the playoffs. Which I think the Thunder should. For all the things they’ve accomplished and the steps taken, one they haven’t pulled off is the West’s No. 1 seed. And when you consider the dominance they’ve shown at The Peake over the last month, having those extra games in your building could be big.
(And yes, I realize the Thunder didn’t have it last season. But that team last season also had James Harden.)
The Spurs are some kind of good in their building in their own right, so pulling off a win there won’t be easy. The season series is knotted 1-1 with the season’s first game going San Antonio’s way in a nail-biter and the second going the Thunder’s way 107-93 in OKC. So with one more game on April 4 after this, in Oklahoma City — winning here could be large in terms of the West’s playoff race.
And not just that, but to build a little of that confidence and swagger back that the Thunder are indeed the top dog in the West. Despite San Antonio being on top of the conference, it’s felt like OKC is still the favorite, but we all know this isn’t the same team as last season’s. So there are still things to prove, like beating the Spurs in their building.
San Antonio coming in: The Spurs got waxed by the Blazers on Friday.
Three Big Things
1. No TP. Without Tony Parker it obviously changes the look of the Spurs pretty significantly. Less pick-and-roll, more drive-and-kick, more post-up play from Tim Duncan. Cory Joseph will likely start in his place with Manu Ginobili and Gary Neal running a lot of the offense.
2. Perk and Timmy. Duncan might be the Spurs offensive focal point tonight since there’s no Parker. And it’s pretty well documented that Perk plays him well. Without Perk’s play on Duncan in the West Finals last season, OKC doesn’t even get its shot at Miami.
3. Durant. How about a big game tonight, okay KD?
Tip at 7:30 CT. Go First.