Time: 7PM CST
Location: AT&T Center, San Antonio
The Thunder travel to San Antonio tonight to play yet another pivotal game in both teams’ march to the post-season. While the 3rd seed is likely a pipe dream at this point, the Thunder are still in the pole position to hang onto home court advantage in the 1st round of the playoffs, but they have to keep winning.
Next up? The ever-resilient Spurs, their structure, acumen, and a culture similar to the Boston Celtics. And it is not coincidence that I mention the Celtics, because it was not that long ago that OKC traveled to Boston to face a team missing multiple key players, and yet due to some, ahem, late game struggles, OKC dropped a game they had all but won. Here we are again, facing a team that will likely be missing their central piece this year in LaMarcus Aldridge, and while the Thunder should win, they had best heed lessons learned.
To begin with, before we start talking about any other issues or personnel, this game will really boil down to a) OKC grabbing rebounds (something they’re usually good at doing) and b) not being lazy guarding the perimeter. If they can do these things, their natural strength in fast-break scoring will inevitably shine through.
Even with the bottom 2⁄3 of the West still garbled, there is no margin for error left, particularly as OKC still has the Nuggets, Pelicans, Warriors, and Rockets in their remaining schedule. While the Warriors and Rockets likely have little to play for at this time, their habitual level of excellence still makes both formidable, even if they are resting key players.
This is not a game to be trifled with. OKC needs to prove to themselves, more than anything else, that they can bring an appropriate level of concentration and focus in a game that matters a great deal, regardless of who is suited up in the opposite locker room.
After all, we know they will.
Who do you think will win tonight?
This poll is closed
post script: if you’ve ever wondered what a Muppet Popovich might look like, wonder no more.