This also counts as an open thread, so feel free to post your thoughts during the game here.
Time: 7:30 PM Central Standard Time
Place: The American Telephone & Telegraph Center, San Antonio, Texas
TV: Fox Sports Net Oklahoma, KMYS My Network TV 35
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1)
Backstory: The Spurs are like the old, forgotten team. They won a championship not so long ago and they continually make moves to stay competitive, but injuries just keep getting in the way of true success. This year, that description has held true to what the Spurs are. They made some off-season buzz by obtaining Richard Jefferson to fill a hole at Small Forward, but not near the amount of news the Magic made by grabbing Vince Carter, the Cavaliers made by grabbing Shaq, or the Lakers made by grabbing Ron Artest. And this season has started out with injury after injury, firstly to Tony Parker and secondly to Tim Duncan. One of them is probably going to play tonight, but we are unsure of who. Thus, I am very unsure of whom is going to win this game.
Meanwhile, the Thunder have been the epitome of average. At times, they look like they're on top of the world, able to compete with teams like the Lakers and blow out the short handed Magic, but at other times, they look pretty bad, barely beating the Clippers and playing extremely ugly games against the Trail Blazers and Kings. One never knows what we'll do against a slow, monotonous team like the Spurs, but considering we split the series last year, we have a fair shot at beating them.
Below: Matchups, Prediction
Matchups: (Please Note that the Spurs lineup wavers from game to game, so I'll just follow the lineup Pounding the Rock says that the Spurs will have.)
Center: Nenad Krstic vs. Matt Bonner
Wow, a matchup of two outside shooting Centers! To be honest, I haven't seen much of Matt Bonner, but I'm pretty sure he's not much of an inside guy. I'd say that Bonner has the advantage outside, whereas Krstic has the advantage inside.
Power Forward: Jeff Green vs. Tim Duncan (Possibly Jefferson or Blair)
Well, this is a mismatch if I've ever seen one. To be honest, if Green can get his outside shot going, this could turn very nasty. And, if Green doesn't get his outside shot going, this could also be very nasty. I could see either side dominating the matchup, but in the end, I think it will be a wash, with Green having less rebounds than usual. If Jefferson starts, I see him winning the matchup, as he's a more versatile scorer than Green.
Small Forward: Kevin Durant vs. Richard Jefferson (Possibly Michael Finley)
Durant wins this matchup either way, but if old man Finley gets the start here, I could see a Durant bonanza starting to form. If the Spurs are smart, he won't start here. Either way, I don't see Durants defense getting in the way of Jefferson or Finley, so I think they'll have good games as well.
Shooting Guard: Thabo Sefolosha vs. Keith Bogans (Possibly Michael Finley)
That's right, Manu Ginobili isn't starting. He'll often be the top performer for the Spurs, but he does it off the bench for some reason. Well, whatever floats the Spurs' boat is fine with me. I think that Sefolosha will win the matchup, just because of his recent performance in the intangible categories, something which really isn't seen in the Box Scores of Bogans. If Finley plays, I think Sefolosha can do a fair job of keeping him down. In his day, he was one of the NBAs best scorers, but these days, he's just alright.
Point Guard: Russell Westbrook vs. George Hill (Possibly Tony Parker)
George Hill is a really nice scoring point guard to have, but he's not nearly the distributor Tony Parker is. With the way Westbrook has been playing, he's about equal to George Hill, but if Tony Parker plays, he'll find himself out of his league.
Battle of the Benches:
Well, by having Manu Ginobili on their bench, the Spurs get an automatic win here. Oh yeah, can they've got Antonio McDyess, Dejuan Blair, Roger Mason Jr., and Theo Ratliff as well. Talk about us getting outclassed.
Coaching and Intangibles:
Gregg Popovich is an excellent coach from way back, the Spurs are at home, and they've won their last two games without Duncan or Parker. I think even the dullest bowls of soup can determine who has the advantage here.
The odds are stacked against the Thunder, and if either Duncan or Parker play, we'll be up against even greater odds. But if the Thunder can focus on ball movement, Kevin Durant can luck into good matchups, and, if Duncan or Parker play, the Thunder can neutralize their threat, then we'll have a chance. But, in the Spurs house....I think we're going to fall back below .500.
Prediction: Spurs 85, Thunder 73
How do you think the game will go? Vote in the Poll!
And, again, feel free to drop any comments you might have during, before, or after the game below. I might be here during the game to drop my thoughts as well. Go Thunder!