San Antonio at Oklahoma City
Time: 7 PM CT NBA TV
Spread: OKC -6
Odds c/o 5dimes
These teams faced last night in San Antonio and the Spurs emerged as 154-147 victors. Now, the 2-game series shifts to Oklahoma City where the Thunder are 6-point favorites on its home court. The over/under is set at 226.5 points by NBA oddsmakers at 5dimes, and the game will air at 7 PM (CT) on NBA TV.
The San Antonio Spurs have won seven of its last nine games to improve to 25-18. The Spurs are tied for the lead in the Southwest Division with the Houston Rockets, and this is a team truly without as much talent as Houston but it does possess one of the greatest coaches of all-time in Gregg Popovich. The Spurs replaced do-it-all forward Kawhi Leonard with 2-guard DeMar DeRozan this offseason, but this is not a Spurs team resplendent with offensive talents. LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay are both very solid strong veterans, but the rest of the roster is a rag-tag collection of players Popovich has found every way to maximize the respective talents of.
DeRozan and Aldridge combine to score 42.2 points per game, but the offense has hardly been a problem for this Spurs team which averages 112.3 points per game. Bryn Forbes has evolved into a very useful guard and is averaging 13.6 points per game, and Marco Belinelli is still a sharpshooter who thrives in the right system. The Spurs are hoping Derrick White can become a star, and he has looked good in his 22 starts this season. Even Jakob Poeltl has found his defensive calling under Popovich and though he plays just 15 minutes a game, the Spurs utilize an 11-man rotation and call deep into its bench.
Veteran and future Hall of Famer Pau Gasol has missed the majority of the season and was already looking as though he hit the inevitable career-type-ending “wall.” Even without Gasol, the Spurs manage to get five points or more from 10 different players and keep a fresh rotation the court. Pop always finds new ways to reinvent his same schemes, and the effect is a team seven games above .500 after losing an MVP caliber talent this offseason. San Antonio could not really reasonably expect any better than this.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are 25-16 and 3.5 games behind Denver for the lead in the Northwest Division. The team has lost three-straight games after last night’s loss to the Spurs. Paul George had 30 points in the loss, and Russell Westbrook had a huge triple-double with 24 points, 24 assists and 12 rebounds— but the Thunder allowed San Antonio to shoot 56.6 percent from the floor including Aldridge going for 56 points on 20 of 33 shooting (and 16 of 16 from the line).
The game was short on defense, and the Thunder shot 50 percent from the field in the loss. OKC is just 12-10 on the road this season but it is 13-6 at home where the game will occur today. The Thunder will have to find a way to slow Aldridge.