The matchup of the game for Thursday night's game between the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder will be between Tim Duncan and Kendrick Perkins.
Although both men technically don't play the same position, Perkins usually guards the bigger Duncan to let Serge Ibaka roam on defense with Tiago Splitter not being a shooter or threat on the perimeter. This will put pressure on Duncan to make his outside jumpers and force Perkins out of the paint where he'll most likely be. With Manu Ginobili and Stephen Jackson out for tonight's game, there may be more pressure for San Antonio to slow down the game to Duncan's old school type of game than a running mentality.
What Duncan must do on offense:
With Tim Duncan working on his jump shot in the last few years, he's become a threat this season on the perimeter. This opens up the lane for his guards and forwards who are in motion on offense. He also has another advantage against Perkins in that if the Thunder counterpart decides to contest closely, Duncan can easily blow past him off the dribble for an easy score. The Spurs may have Duncan post Perkins occasionally to show the defense different looks and not get in used to the same sets this game, although Perkins' best attribute on defense is his man post up defense.
What Duncan must do on defense:
This will be an easy assignment for Duncan as Perkins is not an offensive threat on a nightly basis. He's shooting 52% (70-134) from the restricted area, but that's mostly others finding him when the defense takes their eyes off of him. He can't do much on the ball and teams usually leave him open for jump shots, which he hasn't been too shy on shooting if he's completely unguarded. His percentages from the paint area (45%) and mid range (39%) are decent, but he hasn't shot more than 70 shots from either of those areas to consider him a legitimate threat despite his percentages. If Duncan can leave Perkins open on the court and away from the basket area, it'll be a good defensive night for the Spurs who can double team or help out in the paint against the Thunder's better players.