San Antonio (19 - 6)
Oklahoma City (19 - 4)
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO
(AP) -- Thanks to their longest winning streak in 16 years, the Oklahoma City Thunder own the best record in the NBA.
The San Antonio Spurs aren't far behind and Tony Parker is a big reason why.
Kevin Durant and the Thunder go for their 11th win in a row Monday night when they host Parker and the Spurs for the first time since eliminating them in last season's Western Conference finals.
Oklahoma City (19-4) has won 10 straight for the first time since an 11-game run in November 1996 when the franchise was the Seattle SuperSonics.
The Thunder are averaging 109.6 points and shooting 50.2 percent during the current streak, keeping them perfect since a loss at Boston on Nov. 23.
"It's good. We're 19-4 and we just want to look at the bigger picture instead of winning streaks," said sixth man Kevin Martin, who is averaging 19.7 points in the past three games. "We're a pretty talented team, so we're just taking baby steps and getting better every day."
Durant continues to be the team's driving force, averaging 30.2 points over his last 12 games, with Oklahoma City winning 11.
The superstar forward kept the Thunder rolling Friday, making 10 of 14 field goals to finish with 31 points and four steals in Friday's 113-103 win over Sacramento.
Durant had 23 points, 14 rebounds and five assists in an 86-84 loss at San Antonio (19-6) in the Thunder's season opener Nov. 1.
He's averaged 25.8 points in 18 career regular-season meetings with the Spurs, but totaled 29.5 while helping top-seeded Oklahoma City oust San Antonio in the conference finals last spring.
Durant was stellar in the decisive 107-99 victory in Game 6 on June 6, tallying 34 points, 14 rebounds and five assists.
Parker finished with 29 points and 12 assists in that meeting, and had 14 and 11 in this season's first matchup.
The four-time All-Star enters this game averaging 22.9 points and 8.0 assists during San Antonio's 6-2 run, and had 22 points with four steals in a 103-88 win over Boston on Saturday.
"Tony's a phenomenal player," said guard Gary Neal, who had 20 points. "Through the years I've been here, he's done some phenomenal things."
Tim Duncan was far from phenomenal Saturday, missing 11 of 13 shots to finish with a season-low five points and 12 rebounds. He was much better against Oklahoma City last month, collecting 20 points, eight boards and three blocks.
Manu Ginobili may miss another meeting with the Thunder after back spasms kept him sidelined for the first matchup. The veteran swingman suffered a bruised left quad in the opening quarter against the Celtics.
He averaged 18.5 points against Oklahoma City in the playoffs, but was limited to 10.3 on 37.5 percent shooting in the three road games.
While the Spurs and Thunder are back atop the West standings with a burgeoning rivalry, Parker doesn't feel it's on the level as San Antonio's others against Dallas and the Los Angeles Lakers.
"No, not yet," he said. "Not like the Lakers or the Mavericks. Sure, it's starting to become a rivalry."
Spurs had been in OKC since Sat Late night or Sun early morning.
I think Spurs are more than ready to Payback OKC at their home ever since that Hideous 4 losses in the PO.
If Spurs stay FOCUSED and play as a TEAM they should be able to get the W even if Manu, Leonard, or Jack are out.
Spurs Come Together to Bring it!!!!!!
They have been looking forward to this game for a long time!!!
Spurs go against the World who is picking OKC to win tonight!!!
Tim Duncan will be a HUGE Factor!
Tony plays like an MVP!
And Danny Green Brings it!!!!!!
Gary Neal shows SHOW UP!
Splitter Brings his BEST Game!
And the rest of the Spurs RISE UP!
I am calling the wounded animal with too many injuries (Spurs TEAM) ALL of them to RISE UP!
Spurs win even if they took OKC to Double OT.
*Keep in mind Spurs won their home game this season the pressure tonight is on OKC*
Also Captain Jack will be sending karma for Spurs to win this game...
Go Spurs Go!
With 3 of our top perimeter guys watching from behind the bench, our active crew will have their hands full. And with the bench strength being lessened, everybody has to give 110%. It ain't gooding to be pretty but if we can somehow force OKC off their game and either Westbrook or Durant don't show up, we might squeak one out. I just hope our guys come out of this one healthy, win or lose.
Basketball is not an equal opportunity game. If you can't shoot it well, you don't get to shoot. -- Bob Donewald
Well Spurs started the game slow. They never could catch up with OKC. The Thunder played very physical and had more weapons.
The best things I seen in this game were
1. Captain Jack back he looked awesome even for few minutes!!!!
2. Nando was great with his hustle and energy!!
3. I wish that Pop would play more of Mills I loved the energy he brought!
4. James Anderson was very good on D
5. Splitter was AWESOME!
6. Blair needs to be in the game earlier he creates a havoc. Vs OKC.
Great call by Pop to sit the starters in the end of game!!!
Don't show all your weapons Pop. Adjust in the PO and make them second guess every move. Good job by Pop.
That way starters don't get over used on a no hope to win game since we did not have our shots clicking and our defense was slower than OKC. That was almost impossible to win and if we brought our starters back we lose the game and our starter.
Remember the Spurs have to play tomorrow at Denver. The altitude + the long bus ride to the arena + a Physical Team in Denver at home which is a another very strong home team it is crucial to keep starters fresh.
This game ended on the beg of the 3rd Q.
Boy now we all know that Bench is ok but never going anywhere without Manu in them playing and guiding them.
Without Manu we are all screwed!!!
Get Healthy Soon Manu!!!!!!!!!!
Let's go to Denver and kill Denver tomorrow!!!!!
Go Spurs Go
Go Spurs Go!
OKC is still trouble for the Spurs. We can't match their energy, athletism and defensive intensity. Plus Parker can't play is usual game when Sefalosha is on him and Ibaka is guarding the rim. Solutions remain to be found. Maybe De Colo and Anderson are part of a solution, but that won't be enough.
I am so glad they don't have that beard man Harden this year. Those OKC are not going to beat my Spurs in the PO if Pop did not sit his starters and Manu and Leonard played.
In a 7 game series I am liking Pop OVER Scott Brooks all day long!
Side Note: NBA scheduling [email protected] made it super ugly since FOUR OUUT OF FOUR Spurs OKC meetings were on a B2B.
Spurs won their first OKC game at home on Nov 1st. And OKC won their game yesterday at their home!!!!!!!!!
Spurs/OKC next game is in San Antonio vs OKC on Monday March 11th and it is 1st game on a B2B since Tue the 12th Spurs play @ Minnesota.
Next and last season game Spurs go to OKC on Thursday April 4th and that is also a second B2B game since wednesday April 3rd Spurs play Orlando @ Home.
Go Spurs Go!
Every aspect of OKC's game is top shelf but the one aspect that stands out above the other teams in the NBA is their ability to deflect shots and passes. Somehow that's what the Spurs need to address.
I am not sold yet on OKC. They get good benefit from easier schedule than Spurs and won 11 in a row. This is going to catch up with them by the end of the year.
By the way here is NBA Scheduling [email protected] on the OKC - Spurs games for OKC:
Next Matchup between Spurs/OKC
Mon March 11th OKC will be on the road on a second B2B where they play vs Boston at home on Sun early tip off game at 12:00 pm NOON
Thursday April 4th then OKC at home would be rested for 4 days Since they play before that on Sat March 30th on the road vs Milwaukee
Fist game we played OKC on Thursday Nov 1st in San Antonio where they were rested almost a week since Wednesday Oct 24th pre season game.
Than yesterday OKC played at home vs San Antonio where they were rested for 3 days since Friday Dec 14th they played vs Sacramento at home... They were rested and ready.
Now how is that fair. 1 of the 4 games OKC are on a B2B while Spurs have all those match ups on a B2B games?
Go Spurs Go!
Spurs won on back end in Nov and lost on the front end yesterday.
Secondly, Scott Brooks was on the bench for OKC last year when they beat SA in the playoffs so he's proven his worth against Pop.
Wish I could share your optimism but I just don't believe SA can beat OKC in a series.
So far when Manu and Leonard and Jack (All Spurs) were healthy and played like the first game we played OKC in San Antonio Nov 1st we saw how Spurs won that game.
Ibaka will not be playing that accurate all the time. And Martin might not be as tough as they think come PO.
Only time will tell in the Playoff when Harden will be missed by OKC.
Also Tim Duncan is playing much better this year than last year defensively-yesterday was a fluke for him though since it was a B2B.
But you can't judge Spurs vs OKC so far with these messed up regular season scheduled games. Even though almost all sports analysts have already judged Spurs and said that we don't compare this Almighty OKC team.
2. Pop is working his way to solve the Spurs defensive issues that they have. And by the end of the season come April I expect Spurs to be a much better defensive team because by then Pop would have figured his Playoff rotation.
Pop last year was playing different style than this year that is why I am not comparing last year's PO to this coming this year.
I know Pop does not play he is the one who plans all the rotations and he is the one who calls the shots for Spurs. He was coach of the year last season. Pop has 4 rings and Brooks has ZERO rings.
Also Pop did not ever go to the finals and lost and Brooks lost last year to the Miami Heat in the finals.
Go Spurs Go!
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