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 Automatic Telephone and Telegraph Center, San Antonio, Texas
TV: Fox Sports Net Oklahoma, Fox Sports Net Southwest
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1), News Radio 1200 WOAI
Previous Meeting(s): Nov 15th.
The Thunder are on a two game win-streak, and just finished off destroying an opponent that's considered to be pretty good in the East. We're on top of the world, right?
Whoh there. Hold your horses, because you haven't seen anything yet. The Spurs have only lost 4 games with year, and if they continue at their current pace, they will tie the Bulls' record for most games won in a regular season. The Spurs are, essentially, the perfect combination of defensive tenacity, team offensive ability, endless depth, and veteran swagger. When the Lakers lose a star, they lose a step. But when the Spurs lose a star, they only lose a half step. It's the ultimate well-oiled basketball machine, and it rarely, if ever, stumbles.
How do the Thunder cope with that?
Below: Coping, Prediction!
The #1 thing they need to do is keep scoring. No matter how bad the defense is doing, the #1 objective needs to be to score as much as possible as frequently as possible. Because if we don't, things could turn ugly fast, as the Spurs usually win their games by going on huge runs, as happened to us last time we faced them. If Durant is missing his shots, get it to Green or Harden. Take out Westbrook if he gets too bull-headed. Take a chance and throw it to Krstic or Sefolosha. Anything to keep the offense fresh and productive.
Additionally, they should focus on making the Spurs spread their points among their players. They don't have anybody scoring over 20 PPG, as they rely on different players to go off during different games. The common link in the four Spurs losses is that either nobody scored over 20 points, or they relied far too much on a select few scorers. Since the Thunder use a trap defense and a lot of double-teams, it's hard to see them forcing the Spurs to use only a select few to score. But it's easy to see them forcing the scorers to defer to role players, leaving the Spurs without a hot go-to man in the clutch.
Unfortunately, I doubt the Thunder can pull this one out. The Spurs are one tough cookie, and the Thunder haven't proved they have the meddle to compete with experienced teams down the stretch. And until they do, it's looking like more losses are in store for our beloved team.
But we'll give 'em hell and high water anyway! Go Thunder!
Prediction: San Antonio 117, Oklahoma City 103