Spurs face Thunder in arguably the biggest game of the season

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The San Antonio Spurs face the Oklahoma City Thunder in a game that could decide which team holds home court advantage should they face in a playoffs,

San Antonio Spurs vs Oklahoma City Thunder

AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
March 11, 2013, 7:30 PM Spurs Time
TV: FSSW/NBA TV - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

The San Antonio Spurs face the Oklahoma City Thunder in a Really Big Game. Like, Big. As in Playoff Implications Big.

The Thunder have quietly sneaked into being 1 game behind the Spurs in the standings after wins against the Knicks and the Celtics. Meanwhile the Spurs, while holding their own, have proceeded to get blown out by 30 points by the Trail Blazers. The less we talk about that game, the better.

That said, the team is likely extra motivated and has shown an ability to bounce back. The Thunder Clippers took the first two meetings this season, but the good guys then blew them out by 26 in their own building. This team becomes even less predictable when one of its core guys gets injured; one of the criticisms the Spurs faced in the WCF was that Tony Parker could be turned into a mere scorer when Thabo Sefolosha guarded him. That said, this game still has playoff implications, despite the fact that the Spurs have never faced OKC with their full roster.

This is Manu Ginobili's first game against these guys this season. Kawhi Leonard missed the first game at Oklahoma City (and arguably was key to the win early this season). Both will be counted on to score, make plays, and defend to counter the Thunder Brothers Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Tim Duncan anchors an elite defense (barring, erm, certain hiccups) while Tiago Splitter and Danny Green earn their keep as elite role players. Stephen Jackson gives this team an edge. The only guy missing is Parker, and I think his defensive chops against Westbrook will be missed more than his scoring and playmaking (I have yet to remember a game where Westbrook outplayed Parker in every respect).

Just... don't leave Derek Fisher open for a 3, okay?

Lineups

Starters
PG: Cory Joseph
SG: Danny Green
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: Tim Duncan
C: Tiago Splitter

Key Bench Players
Manu Ginobili
Boris Diaw
Stephen Jackson

Head Coach
Gregg Popovich

Lineups

Starters
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Thabo Sefolosha
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: Serge Ibaka
C: Kendrick Perkins

Key Bench Players
Kevin Martin
Nick Collison
Reggie Jackson


Head Coach

Scott Brooks

Thunder perspective can be found here: Welcome to Loud City

Game Prediction: Manu takes over in the 4th. Spurs win by 3 in a thriller.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and NBA league pass is recommended for those who are 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.

Get your San Antonio Spurs tickets here!

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