The NBA is set up with a solid night of action on Thursday night. Nine games will be up on the board throughout January 2. The Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs will meet up in one of these matchups. The Thunder and the Spurs are both sitting on the cusp of the playoff picture in the West. This game will tip off at around 8:30 PM Eastern time.
Oklahoma City has started this season out with a record of 18-15, which has them in seventh place of the Western Conference. The Thunder are three games behind the Dallas Mavericks, who are in sixth place. Oklahoma City has won three games in a row and seven of their last eight coming into this one. The Thunder will look to keep this winning streak up with another win on Thursday.
The Spurs have earned a record of 14-18 throughout this season, which has placed them in eighth in the Western Conference. San Antonio is three and a half games behind the Thunder and a game and a half above the Portland Trail Blazers. The Spurs have won two games in a row coming into this matchup and will also look to keep their winning streak going.
These two teams have had strong starts to the season, which has helped them earn playoff spots to this point in the season. There are still teams close behind them, so they will need to sustain this success if they want to stay in the playoff picture as the season goes on. I expect these two teams to play competitively on Thursday night as they try and extend their lead on teams outside the playoffs.
The Thunder and the Spurs met up three times throughout last season. San Antonio hosted the first game of the season series and won 154-147 in double overtime. The second game shifted to Oklahoma City, where the Thunder won 122-112. The final game of the season series was in San Antonio, where the Spurs won 116-102 to win the season series.
The first game of this season’s series was hosted by San Antonio on November 7. Danilo Gallinari dropped 27 points, while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander put up 21 points for the Thunder. LaMarcus Aldridge had a huge night for the Spurs, dropping 39 points. Dejounte Murray finished with 17 points and 10 assists to help give San Antonio a 121-112 win at home.
The Spurs beat Oklahoma City in the season series last season, and were able to take the first game of this season’s series. The Thunder and the Spurs were in the middle of rough starts during the first game of this season’s series, but now that they’ve gotten things going it should be a good second game of the season series.
Field Goal Shooting
The Thunder have had a nice start to the season shooting from the field. Oklahoma City has made around 46.6 percent of their shots from the field, which is seventh in the NBA. The Thunder have made 33.9 percent of their three point shots, which is near the bottom of the league. Oklahoma City has made 53.5 percent of their shots inside the arc, which is fifth best.
San Antonio has also been doing well when it comes to shooting from the field. The Spurs have made 47.4 percent of their shots from the field, which is good for third best in the league. San Antonio has shot 36.6 percent from behind the arc, which is eighth in the NBA. The Spurs have also made 51.9 percent of their shots inside the arc, which is around middle of the league.
These two teams have been doing well shooting overall this season. The Thunder have been the better team inside the arc, while San Antonio has done better from deep. Oklahoma City has the better defense this season, which could help. The Thunder have the fifth best three point defense, which could help them shut down the Spurs.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has had a nice start to the season for Oklahoma City. Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 20 points per game in his first season with the Thunder. Dennis Schroder has averaged 18.5 points per game off the bench. Danilo Gallinari is averaging 18 points per game, while Chris Paul has averaged 16.5 points and 6.5 assists per game. Steven Adams helps round out the lineup averaging 11.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
DeMar DeRozan has helped lead San Antonio throughout this season. DeRozan is averaging around 21 points per game. LaMarcus Aldridge has averaged 19.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Bryn Forbes and Patty Mills are both averaging 11.5 points per game. Rudy Gay has averaged 10.5 points per game off the bench, while Dejounte Murray is averaging 10.5 points per game.
These two teams have had nice production from their starters with some help off the bench. The Spurs average more points per game overall, but Oklahoma City has the better defense. If the Thunder can slow down San Antonio in this one, I believe that they will be able to still produce against the Spurs struggling defense.
San Antonio was able to knock off the Thunder in the first game of the season series, but I believe that Oklahoma City will bounce back with a win in this one. Oklahoma City has the better defense, which I believe gives them a nice advantage. The Thunder have also caught fire in their last stretch of games, which I think they will use to help them pull off the upset on the road.
BetOnline has San Antonio listed as a -133 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Spurs will win this game around 57.1 percent of the time. Even though this game is in San Antonio, I think that the game should be closer to even. The Thunder have been the better team on the season, and I do not think they will fall down 2-0 in the season series to the Spurs.