It’s been tough sledding for the Spurs over the last few weeks, but the Thunder can certainly relate. Both teams are 2-8 in their last 10 games, while OKC comes into tonight’s game on a 2-game skid following a tough 104-102 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night. Led by 34 points from 4th year guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Thunder were nearly able to overcome a 22-point third quarter deficit, fighting back to within a mere 2 points with 3.5 seconds to go and the ball before ultimately having the ball stolen from them on the ensuing possession.
For the Spurs, there were some positives from the Phoenix game, probably none more important than the return of Gregg Popovich’s preferred starting line-up from the depths of the COVID-19 protocols. Even with the way the last few weeks have gone, they still find themselves within striking distance of one of those 7-10 spots, but they have to start beating teams within their own win-range more often than not if they hope to be playing important games in April.
San Antonio Spurs (16-28) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (14-29)
January 19, 2022 | 7:30 PM CT
Watch: Bally Sports Southwest | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs Injuries: Tre Jones (OUT- COVID-19), Zach Collins (OUT - On Assignment)
Thunder Injuries: Kendrich Williams (OUT - COVID-19)
What to watch for
- The Phoenix game marked the first appearance of the Spurs’ preferred starting line-up since December 23rd and they showed out for the occasion, accounting for 84 of the Spurs’ 107 points and all 5 in double figures. That performance helped the Spurs build a double-digit lead at one point over the defending Western Conference champs and a similar effort should put them in a good position tonight against the Thunder.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is by far Oklahoma City’s best player. Coming off a tear in the plantar fascia of his right foot that ultimately ended his season last March after 35 games, the 6’5 guard is averaging 23 points a game, but has had a rough year finding consistency shooting the ball. That doesn’t mean that he still can’t go off though, as was on display Monday night against the Mavericks. Gilgeous-Alexander scored 15 of his 34 points in the 3rd quarter against the Dallas helping to propel them on a 22-2 run in that frame that got the Thunder back in the game.
- OKC is second-to-last in field goal percentage, shooting just 41.8% from the field as a unit on a nightly basis. They’re even worse from beyond the arc, ranking 30 of 30 with a 31% mark from beyond the arc, but that doesn’t stop them from taking a lot of them, ranking in the top 10 in attempts per game. The Spurs, for comparison, come into tonight shooting 46% overall and 35% from beyond the arc, but are shooting just 43% from the field in their last 10 games.
For the Thunder fan’s perspective, please visit Welcome to Loud City
As always, the PtR game thread will be up a half hour before tip-off for all who wish to participate. You can also follow our live game commentary over at our twitter page (@poundingtherock).