Preview 76 of 82: Thunder @ Spurs
Time: 7:00 PM CT
TV: TNT / FSOK
Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC/97.1 FM Tulsa)
After three days of rest, the Thunder (44-31) is in San Antonio for a must-win matchup against the Spurs (43-32). Both teams are fighting for a spot in the playoffs with only 1.5 games separating the fourth and eighth seeds in the Western Conference. The Thunder currently holds the four-seed but the Spurs are only one game behind. In the event of a tied season record, the Thunder will need a win tonight to hold the series tie-breaker over San Antonio.
The Thunder’s last two losses to Boston and Portland were frustrating, to say the least. However, of the eight teams still fighting for a playoff spot in the West, the Thunder is tied with Portland and Utah for the best record over the last 10 games (7-3) and has the second-highest point differential after Utah. It might not look like it to Thunder fans who watch every single game and micro-analyze every mistake, but the Thunder hasn’t lost its shot at the third seed yet.
A win tonight is the next step in making that happen. The uncertainty of Kawhi Leonard’s injury has created discord throughout the Spurs organization and it shows in their record. The Spurs are coming off back-to-back losses and their leading scorer, LaMarcus Aldridge, is listed as questionable. That being said, the worst thing the Thunder can do is take this win for granted and show up without any sense of urgency like they did against Boston and Portland. Only seven games remain in the Thunder’s regular season and each one is a must-win.
Tip-off is at 7:00 PM CT and will be televised on TNT and Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder is a 1.5-point favorite tonight according to Odds Shark.
- Andre Roberson: Out – Knee
- LaMarcus Aldridge: Questionable – Knee
- Kawhi Leonard: Out – Quad
Spurs: Dejounte Murray, Patty Mills, Danny Green, Kyle Anderson, LaMarcus Aldridge
|Team||EFG||FTA||TOV%||OREB||OPP EFG||OPP FTA||OPP TO%||OPP OREB%|
Thunder O & D
Spurs O & D
Thunder leads season series 2-1
Nov 17: SAS 104, OKC 101 [BOX SCORE]
Dec 3: OKC 90, SAS 87 [BOX SCORE]
March 10: OKC 104, SAS 94 [BOX SCORE]
Paging PG13 Again. Paul George is still missing. 6’9”. Black hair. Brown eyes. Last seen in Los Angeles participating in All-Star Weekend. Since the All-Star Break, he hasn’t shot above 50 percent from the field once. In the past five games, he’s 9-for-35 from three, including going 0-for-13 in the past two games. The Thunder needs George more than ever in these final seven games and the playoffs. George could do some serious damage on offense tonight if he can fall back into his old ways.
LaMarcus or Lose. The Spurs are 2-5 this season when LaMarcus Aldridge doesn’t play. On Tuesday, he left late in the first half against Washington with a left knee contusion after scoring 13 points. Despite leaving early in the game, he still ended up being the Spurs leading scorer. Aldridge is a crucial part of the Spurs offense and without him, their young guys seem to flounder. In the Spurs only win against the Thunder this season, Aldridge recorded 26 points and 9 rebounds. In the games the Spurs lost to the Thunder, Aldridge was out with an injury for the first game and scored 11 points in the second game.
Offensive Rebounding. The Thunder currently leads the league in offensive rebounding but did not attack the glass at a high level on Sunday against Portland — getting out-rebounded 49-39. The Spurs are a top-ten rebounding team and could make things difficult for Steven Adams. OKC’s elite offensive rebounding has led to the most second-chance points (14.9 per game) in the NBA.
Grit and Grant. After poor shooting from the OK3 in the first quarter against Portland, the unlikely bench duo of Raymond Felton and Jerami Grant saved the day. Grant had arguably his best game in a Thunder uniform finishing with 17 points on 4-for-5 shooting from the field and 2-for-2 from three. He was tenacious on defense, exercised good shot selection, and provided a much-needed spark for the Thunder offense. Felton and Grant led the Thunder bench unit to outscore Portland’s bench 36-8. Tonight’s game is the first of a back-to-back for OKC. It would be great if the starters, especially Adams, could get some 4th quarter rest before heading to Denver to face Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets tomorrow night.