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Game Thread #74: San Antonio Spurs Vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

We suck planets

It's funny how quickly I go from being excited about our chances to reaching for the panic button. I guess I still haven't achieved that famous "veteran fan aloofness" that allows me to stand back and look at the big picture whenever my favorite team screws the pooch. Instead I'm left looking for answers to questions such as why a consistent scorer like Roger Mason had 0 points in 22 minutes, or why has Udoka replaced Bowen in the rotation after a season that could be generously called "uneven".

We're still right there, but this game is a must-win. The last time we played against the lowly Thunder we failed spectacularly, losing by 2 points after scoring only 13 points in the second quarter, and again 13 more in the fourth. The Thunder went on to lose by 20 points to the Lakers, the Celtics and the Raptors - you know, true contenders. I can only explain that 20-point differential between us and Toronto by considering Pops' contributions. (And by contributions I mean soul-crushing dunks.)

My down-to-earth, no-fun hack preview, after the jump:

Game Time: 7:30 Spurs Time, 9:30 pm Argentina
3:30 am Palestine, Egypt, 2:30 am CET
8:30 am Perth, Japan, Philippines
10:30 pm Guam
8:30 EDT, 6:30 MDT, 5:30 PDT/Arizona
TV: My35 HD
Officials: TBA

Tony Parker
Manu Ginobili
Tim Duncan
Matt Bonner
Michael Finley

Russell Westbrook
Thabo Sefolosha
Nenad Krstic
Jeff Green
Kevin Durant
Oh yeah
images via
26-11 Home 14-23
22-14 Road 6-30
96.8 Offense 97.2
93.0 Defense 103.0
46.5 FG% 44.6
38.9 3-pt% 34.6
76.5 FT% 78.7
41.0 Rebounds 42.8
11.8 TOs 16.5
5-5 Last 10 3-7
L 1 Streak L 3
? Mojo ?
...? Winner


  • Point Guard - Tony has been our rock. If he keeps this up I'll be forced to reevaluate and start to form in my mind the image of a Spurs team without Manu and Timmy, with him at the helm and still making a playoff run. But there's time for that. He has to be able to score at will against these guys. (Besides, apparently we can't score if he's not playing.)
  • Off Guard - Manu's the starter, regardless of whether he starts. I believe he's playing at 70% right now, and that's way more than I expected after three games. His final stretch versus the Hornets was positively Manuish, and he once again proved he lives for the clutch.
  • Center - Tim shows flashes, but that's it. He had an excellent quarter against the Hornets, and rebounded well, but it's been a long time since he dominated an entire game. This is particularly painful if you consider that he carried this team on his experienced should through the first half of the season. I think Pop need to rest him tonight, and hopefully Thomas or Gooden will come through.
  • Power Forward - 2009 Bonner is playing like 2008 Bonner again, and that's bad for us.
  • Small Forward - 2009 Finley is playing like 2008 Finley, and 2007 Finley, and 2006 Finley... No surprise there.
  • Bench - I'm certain that Roger will come back shooting, because that's what he does, and I'm happy about it. Gooden needs more gametime, and if there was ever a team that will allow us a mediocre defender on the court, that's the Thunder. Hill should be hounding CP all night long. ...Ah no, wait, that was on Sunday. Too bad it didn't happen.
  • Coach - I might be the biggest Pop fan in this site, but honestly, I'm not so happy with him at the moment. Then again, he hasn't had the easiest season, either.
  • Intangibles - Manu said in Facebook that they _had_ to win this game. He knows it, I know it, we all know it. A loss tonight would be catastrophic for many reasons. I want to believe that the guys will give their all to get a W. Meanwhile OKC is better off tanking.
  • Mojo - I have no idea any more. No negative mojo should swing the scale here.
  • Winners - Please o please, let it be us.

Keys To The Game

  • Offense - We scored 76 measly points against this team not two weeks ago. That's not nearly enough. I don't care how good we are defending - if we can't put 90 points on the Thunder, we won't get anywhere in the postseason. And the main reason we couldn't score was...
  • 3-point % - Again. It's always the same - we live by the 3, we die by the 3. And you know what? I'm just fine with that. If you check, just about every elite team takes a lot of 3s - the difference is that they make them. We used to make them, too. Now Bonner, Finley and Mason are napping, and Manu was the only one that made them semi-consistently against NO. And if they don't fall....
  • Get fouls - POs are coming. Injuries happened. It's time to start driving to the basket and getting fouls, if only to get used to that strategy again. Manu, do your thing, please.

Some other reading

The Thunder are young, but their presence is already felt through the interwebs. And I added something extra:

Welcome to Loud City (SB Nation blog. Not many posters, but the guys writing the blog is a consumate professional.)
OKC Thunder Fans (Forum. Pretty active, and the regulars seemed like amiable guys.)
Oklahoma City Thunder Forum (Not nearly as active as the other one.)
Supersonic Soul (Great, great blog. I mean, have you read this?)

Other things of possible interest

  • SI - predicts the playoffs matchups. They're always so accurate.
  • The box - is brown.
  • Goku - Sad thing is, I totally know what he means.
  • She - is a keeper.
  • FAIL - Just a random fail I found amusing. To put a smile on your faces after the-other-day-we-won't-ever-mention-again-in-polite-conversation.

Game feeds

Check this game thead at gametime for specific links to good quality feeds. If you arrive late in the game, there game feed links are usually among the first 50 posts of the thread.
BitTorrent Davka (A torrent site where you will find most of the latest games in the league. Bookmark.)

IMPORTANT: Hey, guys, read Lauri's post.

Recap: Probably the great Stampler, but since we don't do the recaps any more, why not work on some other stuff? Possibilities are endless. PTR regulars were producing quality material when Matthew and Stampler were gone, and it's a pity that's not so common lately. More on this after the game.

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