Timmeh shows LeBron how it's done. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
There are only 26 games left in the '10/'11 season. We're starting the home stretch. The Spurs coming out of the All-Star break will get things going with the Thunder. The Spurs will be trying to bounce back from a rough loss to the Bulls just before the break. OKC is coming off a big win against the Clippers last night. The Thunder are having a really nice season, but are struggling a bit on defense. They can score in bunches. In fact, they are 5th in offensive efficiency, but only 16th in defensive efficiency. The Spurs meanwhile are 2nd and 6th respectively.
The Thunderclusters, as we lovingly call them here, have all sorts of young talent that we Spurs fans are envious of. Durant and Westbrook are going to be really good for a long time. At this point though, San Antonio has OKC's number, having won both games this year and sweeping the Thunder last year. Can the Spurs keep the young guns at bay yet again?
In honor of starting a nice little home stand:
San Antonio Spurs vs Oklahoma City Thunder
Where: AT&T Center
When: Feb. 23, 2011, 6:00 p.m. Spurs Time - Timezone Converter
By the Numbers
PG: Westbrook will present a very tough match up for Frenchie. I fully expect Parker to come out and have a dominant post All-Star break. I'm not sure if that will start tonight however. Westbrook is a stud and will cause many problems for Tony. Should be a fun match up. Oh, and Parker needs to dominate Fisher
SG: Manu coming off of his 2nd All-Star appearance is coming into a fairly tough match up against Sefolosha. I like the way Thabo plays. That said, The Sickness gets the nod here. I'd like to see Manu's play improve over the next couple of months. He hasn't been play as well as he was at the beginning of the year.
SF: Jefferson has been much improved, but he's no Kevin Durant. The former tea sipper is pretty much unstoppable. Rage will have his hands full tonight. Durant is the nice quiet super star that all of us Spurs fans love. He's going to be very good for a long time. I think he'll probably win a ring or several before he's done. However, I'm not sure if this is going to be his year.
PF: Jeff Green is probably my favorite player on the Thunder (is it odd that I don't call him a Thunder?). I would love to see him as a Spur. He could be a better version of Lamar Odom in my opinion. He will be an interesting match up for Blair. I would love to see Blair's play continue to improve. He's been playing like his hair's on fire and I look to see that continue.
C: Duncan will match up with both Krstic and Ibaka. Ibaka is a lot more athletic and will probably be the tougher of the two for Duncan to face. That said the GOAT PUFF should be able to handle both guys.
This a huge advantage for the Spurs. OKC will become a much better team when they get a deeper bench. They really only have a few guys that contribute off of the pine. Meanwhile the Spurs have Bonner back with Neal, Hill and McDyess. That doesn't even count Splitter and Anderson who are both working there way back.
I like Brooks, but Pop is the master.
The Spurs are FINALLY back at home and should be rested up. The Thunderclusters are plenty rested and will looking to improve their standing in the conference. That said OKC is coming off of a a game last night so this will be a SEGABABA for them.
Spurs are in the Thunderclusters collective head. According to my memory, the Spurs have beat OKC 6 straight times (at least).
Spurs win in a close one.
Key(s) to the Game
Key 1 - 3 point shooting - The Thunder are not to good at making or defending the 3-point shot. The Spurs need to take advantage of this while at the same time overcoming their lack of defensive prowess from downtown.
Key 2 - Bench Play - OKC doesn't have a lot bench depth so the Spurs bench will play against starters a lot. They'll need to hold their own if the Spurs want another victory against the Thunderclusters.
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