Game Day Preview: Spurs vs. Thunder

SAN ANTONIO SPURS (7-1) vs. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (5-3)
TEAM LEADERS

Points Rebounds Assists
SPURS Manu Ginobili 21.4 Tim Duncan 9.5 Tony Parker 8.2
THUNDER Kevin Durant 28.9 Serge Ibaka 7.9 Russell Westbrook 7.8
The San Antonio Spurs will look to extend their winning streak to seven games when they visit the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Ford Center in Oklahoma for their first set of back-to-backs of the season.

Both teams are coming off victories, the Thunder (5-3) are coming from a 110-108 win over the Portland Trail Blazers last Friday and will look to win their third straight. The Spurs (7-1) are on a six game winning streak and have defeated teams with .500 or below records, their latest victory was a 116-93 blowout against the Philadelphia 76ers.·

Kevin Durant leads the league in scoring at 28.9 points per game and has averaged 27.7 points against the Spurs over his career. In their last game (March 22) against the Spurs, Durant scored 45 points in 99-96 Thunder loss.

The Spurs are off to their best start since 2007-2008 but will have a real test against the Thunder.

KEYS TO THE GAME

SPURS:

Offense — The Spurs are playing well on offense, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are leading their offensive attack. Richard Jefferson is contributing consistently, George Hill is providing some offensive punch off the bench, DeJuan Blair has played well as a starter in the past couple of games and they are making their outside shots.

Defense
– The key is to make life harder for Durant on offense. However, they also have to be wary of Russell Westbrook’s play-making and ability to involve his teammates on offense.

THUNDER:

Offense — The offense starts with Kevin Durant and he will get some help from Russel Westbrook, Jeff Green and Serge Ibaka.

Defense — It will be key for them to limit the Spurs’ inside game, but they also have to be wary of the Spurs outside shots. The Spurs are currently shooting 42.7% from beyond the arc — currently best in the NBA.

INJURIES·

Spurs — George Hill – trapezius muscle (day-to-day), James Anderson – stress fracture (out).

Thunder — Jeff Green – ankle (day-to-day), Nick Collison – knee (out).

PREDICTION: The Spurs will have a tough test against a young Thunder team and may come out flat playing their first back-to-back of the season. The Thunder will gun for their third straight win and will have homecourt advantage.
However, the Spurs’ starters got some rest in the game against Philadelphia and should have enough energy to try to beat the Thunder on the road. This should be a close one, and the team that has “more will” will eventually get the victory. The Spurs will use their experience and beat the Thunder to extend their winning streak to seven.
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