The Thunder has caught a lot of breaks this season with key players on opposing teams missing games because of injuries. That scenario flip-flops tonight in San Antonio. Coach Gregg Popovich said during pre-game that Tim Duncan and Tony Parker will both play after missing the previous two games with ankle injuries.
The intriguing backdrop to tonight’s game is Oklahoma City split its season series with the Spurs last season, including winning once at AT&T Center.
It was mindboggling that the Thunder fared so well against the veteran Spurs considering Tim Duncan and a strong perimeter game are the very things that constantly doomed Oklahoma City last season.
One explanation is three of the four games were late in the season when the Thunder finished with a 20-30 record and was playing much better basketball.
Another theory is the Spurs are one of those teams a young team could get up for.
The revamped Spurs were supposed to be one of the top contenders this season after adding Richard Jefferson and a few other veterans to a team that has won three NBA titles this decade.
But so far the Spurs have been as unpredicatable as any team.
San Antonio won a 131-124 shootout over Toronto earlier this week without Duncan and Parker. Two nights later is was a defensive slugfest when the Spurs, once again playing without Duncan and Parker, defeated Dallas 92-83.
Earlier in the season, with Duncan and Parker, the Spurs dominated New Orleans at home but then looked lethargic the next night in Chicago in a loss. They lost by double digits at Utah and Portland but romped past Sacramento at home.
Bottom line is the Spurs have been very good at home (4-0) and very bad on the road (0-3) which makes tonight’s challenge all the more difficult for the Thunder.