SAN ANTONIO SPURS (50-13)
at OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (35-29)
Tip-off: Thursday, 8:05 p.m. ET
Line: San Antonio -3.0, Total: 213.5
The Spurs will be going for their 10th straight win when they face the Thunder on Thursday night.
Not many people realize it, but San Antonio could leap Golden State for the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs. The Spurs are currently 1.5 games back, but the Warriors are struggling and San Antonio has won nine straight. The teamís most recent victory was absurd, as the Spurs were trailing the Kings by 28 and came back to win 114-104 as 11-point home favorites. The Thunder, meanwhile, have been awful lately. Oklahoma City has lost four straight games and the team badly needs a victory on Thursday. Thatís not going to be easy for the Thunder, who lost 108-94 when they faced the Spurs in San Antonio on Jan. 31. The Spurs have some nice trends working in their favor in this one, as they are 13-5 ATS when the total is 210 to 210.5 and 26-11 ATS in road games after failing to cover the spread in four or more consecutive games since 1996. The Thunder, however have some interesting trends as well. Oklahoma City is 12-3 ATS in home games after one or more consecutive OVERS this season and 21-10 ATS at home on the year as well.
The Spurs might not have covered against the Kings last game, but their win was truly impressive. San Antonio was getting dominated all game, but the team quickly erased a 28-point deficit and still won by double digits. PG Patty Mills (9.6 PPG, 3.4 APG) was the guy that sparked the comeback. Mills had 17 points and 10 assists off the bench, going 6-for-9 from the floor and 4-for-6 from three. If Mills can play even close to as well as he did in that game then it would help. He adds a much-needed scoring boost off the bench. As for the starters, both SF Kawhi Leonard (26.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.9 SPG) and PF LaMarcus Aldridge (17.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.1 BPG) will need to do what they do. For Leonard, that means playing the two-way game that everybody has come to expect from him. Leonard should be feeling fresh for this one as well. He rested against the Kings, so the Spurs will be hoping for a big performance from their MVP candidate. Aldridge, meanwhile, must score the ball effectively in this one. He is one of the best inside players in the league, and that should come in handy against a big Thunder frontcourt.
The Thunder are struggling right now and they will need to play a perfect game in order to beat the Spurs on Thursday. PG Russell Westbrook (31.1 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 10.0 APG, 1.6 SPG) will certainly be up to playing well here. Over the past five games, Westbrook is averaging 44.6 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 7.4 APG and 1.8 SPG. He had 58 points and nine assists against Portland last game, but Oklahoma City did not win that one. Heíll need some help from guys like SG Victor Oladipo (16.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.2 SPG) C Steven Adams (11.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 1.1 BPG) and Enes Kanter (14.3 PPG, 6.9 RPG). Oladipo needs to provide a presence from the wing that can take pressure off of Westbrook. The other two guys must do their part in the paint or San Antonio will absolutely dominate this game.