One night after maybe one of the worst losses of the season, the Thunder will be back in action against the Spurs as OKC attempts to right the ship after a measly 4-8 showing since the All-Star break. The prime time ABC matchup will tip off at 7 p.m. with most basketball fans across the nation watching attentively.
Here are three things to know about the Western Conference showdown:
Spurs are really good
This doesn’t come as a shock to anyone, but the Spurs sure do know how to win basketball games. The club from San Antonio rocks a 55-10 record on the season and would be talked about a lot more if it weren’t for that team with Steph Curry on it.
Kawhi Leonard is one of the best players in the league, and is equivalent to an NBA pocket knife because he could literally do everything out on the basketball court. Not only is he one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, but Leonard ranks second in the league in 3-point field goal percentage by knocking down over 47 percent of his attempts.
Let’s not forget the multi-talented post duo of Tim Duncan and LaMarcus Aldridge, who can both knock down the mid range jumper and crash the boards. Duncan and Aldridge help spread the floor with their shot making ability, along with their pristine passing skills which really make this team deadly.
Greg Poppovich is the best coach in the NBA right now, and with the experience of Tony Parker at point guard and playmaking ability of a now healthy Manu Ginobli off the bench, the Thunder will have a tough test in stopping the Spurs on Saturday night.
Protecting home turf
Along with the Warriors, the Spurs are the only other team in the NBA to not lose at home this season with a 31-0 record inside of the AT&T Center.
It’s not necessarily the loud environment in San Antonio which makes the Spurs so unbeatable, but it’s the overall experience on the roster that knows the importance of holding serve and protecting its home court.
The Thunder definitely know how tough the Spurs are down south, seeing the Thunder failed to win in San Antonio during the 2014 Western Conference Finals.
Thunder need to beat the elite
OKC now holds a 1-5 record against the Spurs, Cavaliers and Warriors on the season and really needs to pick up a signature win before they go into the playoffs. OKC’s only win against that trio of teams came back on the first game of the season, where the Thunder narrowly beat the Spurs in OKC.
It’s almost unfair to judge that October 28 matchup, seeing the Spurs were trying to figure things out with the newly acquired Aldridge while also playing a completely different Thunder team that was more disciplined defensively.
San Antonio is a team that moves the ball A LOT, therefore OKC will need to be active on defense to ensure the Spurs’ sharpshooters aren’t left open on the perimeter.