The Thunder (54-20) is about to go from having four days off to playing three games in a span of 63½ hours against three of the NBA's elite teams.
OKC's contest against San Antonio (55-19) won't begin until 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Spurs have the best record in the Western Conference and the second-best record in the league.
After Thursday's game, the Thunder will fly to Indianapolis, where it will arrive around 4 a.m. locally Friday, approximately 16 hours before facing the Indiana Pacers (48-27), who will be coming off three days rest and riding a five-game winning streak.
OKC will get home around 2 a.m. Saturday and has a noon game Sunday against the visiting New York Knicks (47-26), who rode a nine-game winning streak into Atlanta on Wednesday night.
“That's definitely a tough back-to-back,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said of the Spurs-Pacers back-to-back, “but that's part of the NBA. You have to deal with that. On top of that, Indiana has one of the best teams. They're a physical team, they play extremely well at home (29-8).”
With eight games remaining in the regular season, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins are tied for the team lead in technical fouls with 12. Durant and Westbrook have each had one rescinded.
Players serve a one-game suspension on their 16th technical and for every other technical thereafter.
In the postseason, players serve a one-game suspension on the seventh technical and for every other technical thereafter.
Regular-season fines are $2,000 each for the first five technicals, $3,000 each for the next five, $4,000 each for the next five, and $5,000 for each technical thereafter.
Postseason fines are $2,000 for the first two, $3,000 for the next two, $4,000 for the next two and $5,000 for each thereafter.
Durant, Westbrook and Perkins have paid $33,000 in fines this season.
As a team, the Thunder has 89 technical fouls this season (including delay of game, defensive 3-second calls, et al), which is second to the Los Angeles Clippers at 90.
Serge Ibaka has seven technicals; Hasheem Thabeet has four; Nick Collison, Kevin Martin, Thabo Sefolosha, DeAndre Liggins and coach Scott Brooks have two each; Derek Fisher and Reggie Jackson have one.
Spurs point guard Tony Parker (ankle) and forward Kawhi Leonard (knee) sat out of Wednesday night's home game against Orlando, but Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said both are expected to play against OKC, as is center Tim Duncan, who previously has sat in the second game of back-to-backs.
Reserve center DeJuan Blair is questionable Thursday because of a stomach virus. Sixth man Manu Ginobili, who missed the first two games against the Thunder this season, remains out 3-4 weeks with a hamstring injury.
Though it won four straight against San Antonio to win last year's Western Conference Finals, the Thunder is just 5-12 (.294) all-time against the Spurs during the regular season, its worst record against any franchise. … Thursday will be the 104th consecutive sellout (18,203), including the postseason, at Chesapeake Energy Arena. … San Antonio-Indiana will be the Thunder's 14th back-to-back of the season. OKC will play its final back-to-back next Thursday and Friday at Golden State and at Portland.
Sefolosha on if he considers Thursday's game against the Spurs to be a must win: “I don't look at it that way. I'm not the type of guy who looks at rankings and stuff like this. Really I go with the way we're playing. We've been playing pretty well. Like I've been saying, there are a few things we keep working on and keep getting better, which is positive. So I don't look at this next game as it's a must-win. It's a game we want to win, want to play well.”