OKC has been playing very well this year but fell just short in their last game against Minnesota. They will look to get it going again with this battle against the Spurs. The big key for OKC will be to see if Russ can ever find his shot.
The Spurs won six straight before losing to the struggling Grizzlies last night. They rank #11 in points against, and defense has been a big key. If the playoffs started today, Pop’s team would still be in.
With the #11 scoring defense, combined with their top-12 scoring offense, life is good in OKC. They have found a bench-gem in former Celtic Abdel Nader, who has been scoring at will since filling in for Paul George as a starter in his one-game absence. He and Dennis Schroder continue to do a great job of pacing the second unit, while Steven Adams continues to beast alongside PG. Terrance Ferguson has not shown them much as a starter, though he has remained out there with the first unit regularly. Billy Donovan must love his energy and defensive ability.
Back to Russ. He is somehow shooting just 41% from the floor, 23% from three, and 63% at the line. His stat-line is wildly impressive, and he is still averaging a triple-double, but these shooting numbers are puzzling. Eventually, it’ll catch up with him and slow the team down, but as long as they keep winning, what is there to complain about?
As usual, they play at a slow pace, but they have been able to get it done. They finally got Pau Gasol back after he missed multiple months with a foot injury. He grabbed 12 rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench last night, really providing some energy. DeRozan is averaging 22-6-6 for the year and has continued to impress. His All-Star spot is not guaranteed in this conference, but he has established himself as a real leader for the group. Derrick White has also been coming on of late, providing stability at the small-forward spot.
The biggest issue with this team is that they only have four consistent three-point shooters, and three of them come off the bench. Bertans, Mills, and Belinelli have fueled the second unit with their sharpshooting, but only Bryn Forbes has found consistent success. They do shoot the highest percentage in the league and are #2 in free-throw percentage.
Spurs get it done at home, send OKC to second consecutive loss
We’re riding with the Spurs tonight, as DeMar DeRozan will be powering his team to their 25th win of the season. His 30-point performance will be enough to help power them to the win, while LaMarcus Aldridge’s 20-10 night helps too. Paul George is going to go off tonight, but it will not be enough to lift his team to the win.
Free Pick: Spurs
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