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News » Thunder-Spurs Preview

Thunder-Spurs Preview

Thunder-Spurs Preview
No matter the caliber of their opponent, the San Antonio Spurs are beating just about everybody these days.

Coming off a victory over the team with the second-worst record in the Western Conference, the Spurs try for their sixth consecutive win on Sunday night when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder, owners of the NBA's worst mark.

San Antonio (14-8) won 98-86 at Minnesota on Friday for its 14th victory in 19 games since losing three straight to open the season.

"Usually it takes us a while," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, whose team is clicking with a healthy Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker in the lineup. "It usually takes us into March and April before we're really ready to go. I think we're on the right track for sure."

San Antonio, which has won at perennial West powers Denver and Dallas during its current streak, looks to continue that run of success when it faces the Thunder (2-22) for the first time this season.

The Spurs have won seven of the last eight meetings with the team formerly known as the Seattle SuperSonics and have recorded six consecutive victories over them at the AT&T Center.

Tim Duncan had 17 points and 13 rebounds against Minnesota, Parker added 17 and nine assists and Ginobili scored 16 while the Spurs held an opponent to fewer than 100 points for 16th time in their last 18 games.

The Thunder franchise has scored more than 88 points just three times in their last eight contests against the Spurs.

Duncan is averaging 22.0 points and 12.6 rebounds in six December games. Ginobili, meanwhile, has scored 51 points on 18-of-31 shooting in his last two games against the Thunder franchise.

Oklahoma City opened a two-game Texas swing with a 103-99 loss at Dallas for its sixth consecutive defeat since winning at Memphis on Nov. 29.

Jeff Green scored 25 points and Kevin Durant added 22 for the Thunder, who led by a point after three quarters but were held to 19 in the fourth.

"We're going to win some games," said Thunder interim coach Scott Brooks, whose team blew a 21-point lead in a 108-102 loss to the Grizzlies on Wednesday. "We still have to just continue to get better and learn."

Against Dallas, rookie Russell Westbrook finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Thunder, who shot 46.0 percent from the field, but fell to 1-11 on the road.

"We played a solid basketball game," said Oklahoma City reserve Desmond Mason, who had 12 points. "You can't fault our effort."

Durant, the team's leading scorer at 22.9 points per game, had a career-high five steals but went scoreless in the final period. He averaged 23.7 points on 52.7 percent shooting in three games versus the Spurs as a rookie last season.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 14, 2008


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