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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

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The Spurs look to continue being very good at basketball against a team that is also very good at basketball, but slightly less so.

Coo-coo-ca-chaw!
Coo-coo-ca-chaw!
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs vs Oklahoma City Thunder

AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
Date: 3/12/16, Time: 7:30 PM Spurs Time
TV: ABC - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

We're roughly ¾ of the way through the season, and among the many surprises of this year has been the sizeable double-digit gap between San Antonio and OKC in the standings. Both teams have been stellar up to this point, but the Thunder look as vulnerable as they've ever looked in a year when their stars are healthy. Their biggest concern is a recurring issue: late game execution.

Late game execution has long been a problem for this bunch (lest we forget this abominable "shot" by Westbrook in the closing moments of a playoff game), and we've seen this on full display on national TV over the last two weeks. Our very own J. Gomez recently detailed OKC's latest string of catastrophic collapses, which I highly recommend reading, but for those without the time to read two articles in a day, the basic gist is that the Thunder don't have the personnel to properly run an offense come crunch time.

And let's talk about these personnel of theirs for a second. The Thunder's sixth man is either Dion Waiters or Enes Kanter. They have a negative net rating without KD on the floor. Same goes for Russ. The bench basically tries to stay afloat until their stars can come back in and lug them through the rest of the game.

Now, this isn't a completely ludicrous plan of attack - Durant and Westbrook are two of the best players today and OKC does have the fourth best record in the league. But it's just crazy to think that this franchise has had to resort to this. This is a franchise, after all, that's rolled with so many dynamic complements to their Big Three (Reggie Jackson, Kevin Martin, James Harden) that makes it so jarring when they're forced to pick between Dion Waiters and Randy Foye to play in the big moments.

This game should be a good one with a playoff-like atmosphere. OKC badly needs an impressive win to prove to themselves that they can contend with the best of them (their only win against the Big Three of the Warriors, Spurs and Cavs came Game 1 against our guys). The Spurs would ideally like to continue integrating Kevin Martin into The System, while also maintaining my false hope they can reach the 1 seed. Yes, the Spurs are concerned about my feelings. No, I'm not crazy.

Matchup to watch: Leonard vs. Durant. The first matchup between these two this season was a treat for Klaw fans. Kawhi dominated both ends of the floor with 32 points on 13-22 shooting, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks, all while holding KD to 22 points on an inefficient 6-19 from the field. That game was Durant's first official playing time in over 8 months. This time around, we should expect Durant to play looser now that he's gotten used to the game flow again, but it won't be easy if the Kawhi we've seen all season shows up to play.

@

Oklahoma City Thunder

(Record: 44-21)

San Antonio Spurs

(Record: 55-10)

March 12, 2016

AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

7:30 PM CDT

TV: ABC

Starters

Russell Westbrook

PG

Tony Parker

Andre Roberson

SG

Danny Green

Kevin Durant

SF

Kawhi Leonard

Serge Ibaka

PF

LaMarcus Aldridge

Steven Adams

C

Tim Duncan

Game prediction: Spurs by 8.

For the Thunder's perspective, visit Welcome to Loud City.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher.