OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (47-16)
at SAN ANTONIO SPURS (48-15)
Tip-off: Monday, 8:35 p.m. ET
Line: San Antonio -2, Total: 208
The sizzling-hot Thunder aim for a sixth straight victory and a share atop the Western Conference standings on Monday when they visit a Spurs team trying to recover from a huge loss.
Oklahoma City's win streak has been impressive, with three road wins and a pair of double-digit home victories against the Lakers and Celtics. The Thunder have scored 106.4 PPG on 48.4% FG during the surge while allowing just 95.2 PPG on 41.3% FG. That puts them just one game back of the Spurs, who played very little defense in their last game, a shocking 136-106 home loss to 11.5-point underdog Portland on Friday. This was the second-worst home defeat in franchise history. The Blazers made 62% of their shots that night and outrebounded San Antonio 38-29. The defeat dropped the Spurs to a mediocre 4-3 (SU and ATS) in their past seven games. And since taking a 2-0 series lead on Oklahoma City in last year's Western Conference Finals, San Antonio has lost five of the past six meetings with the Thunder, going 0-5-1 ATS during this stretch. The Spurs won 86-84 (ATS push) on Nov. 1, but Oklahoma City returned the favor with a 107-93 home win over San Antonio on Dec. 17.
Can the Spurs bounce back from Friday's debacle with a win over the hard-charging Thunder on Monday? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. All four experts continue to sizzle in NBA Best Bets. StatFox Gary is 73% ATS (11-4) in March and 73% ATS (19-7) since Feb. 20, StatFox Brian is 67% ATS in March (10-5), including 70% ATS (7-3) in the past seven days, StatFox Scott is 62% ATS (34-21) since Feb. 3 and StatFox Dave is 58% ATS (7-5) in the past seven days. Since February began, the experts are a collective 57.3% ATS (126-94), including 55% ATS (33-27) in March. Scott is now 56% ATS (104-82-1) for the season, while Gary is 54% ATS (82-71-4) and Brian is 52% ATS (100-94-3). For NBA Totals, Gary is a perfect 4-0 in the past three days, while Scott is 65% (11-6-1) since Feb. 22 to raise his season record to 57% (87-67-1) in Totals.
Oklahoma City's offense has been clicking all season with 106.7 PPG (2nd in NBA) on 48.3% FG (3rd in league) and 39.0% threes (2nd in NBA). The Thunder lead the league in road offense too (104.0 PPG), putting up 105.3 PPG on 49% FG and 40% threes in the past eight away games. They are also tough to score on, holding teams to the second-lowest shooting percentage in the NBA (42.8%). SF Kevin Durant (28.4 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 4.7 APG) leads the league in scoring, but he continues to show off all facets of his game, posting 24.2 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 6.3 APG and 1.2 BPG in his past 10 contests. He's also averaged a double-double in the season series with San Antonio, tallying 21.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG and 4.5 APG. PG Russell Westbrook (23.3 PPG, 7.7 APG, 5.2 RPG) has also posted great numbers across the board against the Spurs this season with 20.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG and 7.0 APG, despite making just 12-of-39 shots (31%). But he's been pretty quiet in the past three games, scoring just 15.7 PPG (41% FG) with 4.0 APG and 3.3 RPG. The team's third-highest scorer, SG Kevin Martin (14.4 PPG) has also been slumping offensively with 10.3 PPG on 36% FG over his past eight games, failing to reach 17 points in any of these eight contests. However, he has been on fire in the two meetings with the Spurs, tallying 17.5 PPG on 55% FG (6-of-11 threes). PF Serge Ibaka (13.4 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.9 BPG) didn't do much offensively in the Nov. 1 loss at AT&T Center (4 points on 2-of-7 FG), but he exploded in the Dec. 17 win for 25 points (10-of-16 FG), 17 rebounds and three blocks. His seven-game streak of 12+ points ended on Sunday, when he managed just seven points, but Ibaka is still averaging 14.0 PPG on 66% FG with 7.1 RPG in his past eight games.
San Antonio's offense is right on par with Oklahoma City, averaging 104.8 PPG (4th in NBA) on 48.9% FG (2nd in league) and 38.2% threes (4th in NBA). The Spurs also lead the league in assists (25.2 APG) and Ast/TO ratio (1.73). And despite allowing 136 points on Friday, this team usually plays strong defense, surrendering just 96.2 PPG (10th in NBA) on 43.9% FG (6th in league) and 33.2% threes (2nd in NBA). With star PG Tony Parker (ankle) out of the lineup for the past three games, PG Cory Joseph (3.8 PPG, 1.6 APG) has been manning the point for the most part, but has just 3.0 APG in 23.0 MPG since Parker has gotten hurt. SG Manu Ginobili (12.6 PPG, 4.6 APG) has also played a bigger role off the bench during Parker's absence with 17.0 PPG (51% FG) and 5.0 APG in the three games. Ginobili hasn't faced the Thunder this season, but he's averaging 13.8 PPG and 4.1 APG in 27 regular-season games against them in his career. But the strength of this team remains in the frontcourt with PF Tim Duncan (16.7 PPG, 9.7 RPG), SF Kawhi Leonard (11.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG) and C Tiago Splitter (10.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG). Duncan has averaged a double-double over his past seven games with 16.1 PPG and 10.1 RPG, and has been his team's top scorer against Oklahoma City this season with 16.0 PPG and 6.5 RPG in the two meetings. Leonard has scored in double-figures in 10 straight games, pouring in 15.3 PPG on 50% FG during this run, and Splitter has 11.0 PPG and 8.0 RPG in four March games.