Game Preview #8: OKC Thunder @ San Antonio Spurs

We cleared an important hurdle by beating the Mavs in convincing fashion and got just a wee taste of delicious revenge as a bonus. The Oklahoma City Thunder pose a test of a different sort. Now is no time to let up. If we win this one, we have our first 3-game winning streak of the young season. I'm ready for it--you're ready for it--are the Spurs ready for it?

Capt

Hell yeah!

That's the spirit, Cubits. Timmy, hug the basketball, and let's make the jump. Oh, that's right . . . you can't. How insensitive of me. Well, just hug the basketball, then, and let some of these new guys carry that weight for a while.

Tim-duncan-hug-ball-425_medium

Still the man.

To commemorate our recent spate of un-Spurlike ferocious dunks from sources both likely and not, in which the funk was most definitely not faked, I give you the following musical selection to read by. As far as the accompanying video images, I, ah, well . . . I apologize. A little bit.

Let's talk about the elephant in the room first, shall we? I've made no secret of my admiration for one Kevin Durant. Are my allegiances divided for this game? Will I be publicly cheering for the Spurs while giving furtive fist pumps every time KD's shot drops? Let me put your mind at ease.

  1. There will be nothing furtive about my fist pumps for Durant. 'Cause that kid lives up to every bit of the hype and still has that killer instinct, the kind that fame cannot extinguish.
  2. I will be rooting for the Spurs every inch of the way.

Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself. (I contain multitudes.)

ANYway. I got these cookies for my housemate the other day just because they had such a great name. Sadly, they didn't live up to the promise, but they did end up serving another purpose:

Thundercluster_medium

"Cowboy Thunderclusters!" How marvelous is that?

We've always been a bit irked by the name "Thunder" for a basketball team (what is this, arena football?) and wished that OKC had chosen a more tangible name. Something you can at least quantify, for god's sake.

In our house, they are forever more the Oklahoma City Cowboy Thunderclusters.

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Oklahoma City Thunder @ San Antonio Spurs
Where: AT&T Center - San Antonio, TX
When: November 14, 2009, 7:30 PM Spurs time
Watch: My35 HD (San Antonio); NBA League Pass (Everywhere else)


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How They Stack Up
4-0 Home 2-2
0-3 Road 2-2
102.4 Offense 92.8
99.7 Defense 89.4
46.4 FG% 44.2
36.9 3-pt% 33.6
71.7 FT% 78.1
40.4 Rebounds 41.1
11.6 TOs 15.8
4-3 Last 10 4-4
Won 2
Streak Won 1
3rd, Southwest Position 3rd, Northwest

Country/Time Zone Game Time
Argentina 10:30 PM
West Coast 5:30 PM
Philippines 9:30 AM
Central Europe 2:30 AM
Palestine/Egypt 2:30 AM
Least Coast 8:30 PM
Colorado/Furnace of Hell 6:30 PM
Perth, AUS 8:30 AM
Tokyo, JP 9:30 AM
Sydney, AUS 11:30 AM

Spurs
(4-3)
Matchups

Thunder
(4-4)

George Hill
Sir Hotbod Handsomeface

Point Guard

This is going to be a LONG matchup. Literally. Both these guys have tremendous wingspans, and are two of the best defensive PGs in the league. Westbrook has made considerable strides this season, but you can say the same thing for George. I'll give Russ the slightest of edges just because he plays more minutes, and he's a big-ass PG who will look to push Cubits around.

Advantage: Thunder


Russell Westbrook
Albatross Clone

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Keith Bogans
Surprise Package

Shooting Guard

Again, it's another defense-centric matchup. Thabo is more athletic but Bogans is the wily veteran. We'll see who among these two can make the bigger impact in the game.

Advantage: No one


Thabo Sefolosha
Swiss Cheese

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Richard Jefferson
Debbie Dunker

Small Forward

RJ showed he's capable of guarding KD when these two teams met during the preseason. But that's what it was, preseason. It will be fun to see these guys going at it on the offensive end of the floor.

Advantage: Tied


Kevin Durant
Durantula

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Tim Duncan
Grounded Hog Day

Power Forward

Pop said either Tony or Tim will play in tonight's game. Let's go with Duncan. While he can't jump to save Pop's beard from getting shaved these days, the fundamentals will still be in full effect.

Advantage: Spurs


Jeff Green
Steady Eddie

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Matt Bonner
Clutch Bag

Center

Forget about Krstic. Matt Bonner has definitely earned his ATS white box for the past two games.

Advantage: Spurs


Nenad Krstic
Yugoslavian Yoohoo

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Manu Ginobili
La Enfermedad

Bench & Role Players

I've never seen a bigger disparity in terms of bench depth. Spurs all the way.

Advantage: Spurs


James Harden
Seasoned Rookie

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Gregg Popovich
Wino

Coach

Scott Brooks and GM Sam Presti have really done a good job in slowly building up the OKC franchise, but they just took after their mentors, Pop and R.C.

Advantage: Spurs


Scott Brooks
Promising Coach
images via yahoo.com

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Other Factors

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Intangibles

We just came off a great victory against in-state rivals and playoff team Dallas, and the coaching staff is slowly discovering the gifts of one Richard Jefferson. Still, the Thunder have beaten the Spurs before and I'm pretty sure the Spurs coaching staff are aware of the dangers Durant and Co. pose. Advantage: Spurs

Mojo

Either Tim or Tony will most likely return to give us a huge boost. Getting our defensive mojo back the last timeout also helps. Advantage: Spurs

Winner: Spurs

I respect OKC, but hopefully we'll put the game away early so our older statesmen can get some rest before the upcoming road trip. Prediction: Spurs by 15

Keys To The Game

  • Make KD work - He'll score a bunch and make crazy wild shots, but RJ has to body him up and give him tough looks all through out.
  • Bench Production - We have a huuuuge advantage in this department, and herein lies the key if we are going to blow this game apart early. An early end would also allow us to see Hairston and/or Haislip get some minutes.
  • Keep up the Energy - Usually, big wins tend to drain some of the life out of a team. The Thunder are young, incredibly long and active, and it's important we match their energy on both ends of the floor and forget about our last victory.

Strength of Schedule

OKC is starting the front end of a SEGABABA after coming off a three-day break from a narrow road win over B-Diddy and the Clips. They'll finish their home-and-home against the Clippers (again) to complete the SEGABABA.

The Spurs had three days rest after that win over the Mavs, and the extended rest definitely helps our injured guys. The Silver and Black get another long-ass, four-day vacation before completing the second of their four-parter against the Mavs, this time in Dallas.

After that, the home-friendly first half of our season schedule resumes with a four-game homestand.

Last Time They Met

We handled the Thunder pretty well in a preseason game played in Austin where the Spurs went bananas from the three-point line, shooting 14-19 for a 113-96 victory. FinDog made Wayne proud by racking up 20 points, going 5-5 from long distance.

Some Other Reading

Thunder

Welcome to Loud City - The OKC Cowboy Thunderclusters SB Nation site is under new management. So far they're doing a great job.
The Daily Thunder - Part of the TrueHoop network. Royce Young and Joe Newell run this blog, and they are both a pleasure to read.
OKC ThunderCast - This is actually other listening, not reading. The ThunderCast crew produce snappy and insightful podcasts about their young NBA team.

Spurs

48 Minutes of Hell Graydon and Timothy run not just a great Spurs blog, but one of the best basketball blogs, period, out there on the Intertubes.
Project Spurs: Lots of content in this great site. Also, you can drop by and join their live chats during games.

The (sort of) Daily Twitter

George_Hill3 Traffic sucks in SA who else thinks that!!!!! LOL http://twitpic.com/pevwa

YaoMing George Bush (the father) lives in Houston. He gave me his book "China Diary" from his time there. It's good. My first English book to read.

DeJuan45 Wish I went to the Pitt game 2 cheer them on they will b great it's the begining and they have a wonderful team and staff the will b great!!

manuginobili Great win by the Kings, 4 in a row! Udoka is unbeaten! Happy for Ime (and Chapu).

tp9network Hello. You can read my interview on my website http://en.tp9.net/. See you ! Bonjour. Vous pouvez retrouver mon... http://bit.ly/39loVN


Some Other Viewing

This commercial is a classic. Brilliant concept; perfect execution. I keep wanting KD to take off that Seattle jersey to reveal an OKC one, though.

If you liked the snippet of music in that commercial, here's the entire track from the criminally obscure artist Buck 65--"Jaws of Life."

The Ross Sisters perform "Solid Potato Salad," 1944. Wow, they really were the Greatest Generation. (Stick with this one past the 60 second mark.)

Dock Ellis and the LSD No-No: If you view only one video clip today, make it this one.

More about Dock Ellis, one of the great characters in sports history.

Oli Lemieix of Cirque du Soleil demonstrates insane, unearthly trampoline skills to completely unsuitable music.

Where to Tune In

TV

This game will be televised locally in San Antonio on My35, KMYS.

Online

As always, NBA League Pass is recommended for those willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area.

Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate. In fact, nobody can stop you from googling "atdhe". You can also shoot an email to dmenendez@gmail.com for more assistance.

Spurs League Pass audio is still free this year if all else fails, so check it out.

Radio

If you're in the San Antonio area and aren't near a TV, tune in to WOAI (1200 AM).

Finally, a big thanks to the Good Samaritan who jumped in and finished this preview. I was feeling like crap last night and woke up this morning with a migraine, dreading the task ahead, only to find that the Game Preview Fairy had come in the night and worked his or her magic. Any actual basketball-related insight and useful content found here is thanks to _________.

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