Preview and Prediction: San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder

The San Antonio Spurs (22-31) have lost five straight games to kick off their 2020 Rodeo Road Trip. In their final outing before the All-Star break, the Spurs will look to snap their losing streak against the Oklahoma City Thunder (32-21). The Spurs are now 8-19 on the road, while OKC is 17-11 at home.

These two teams are heading in opposite directions in the standings. San Antonio is now tied with the New Orleans Pelicans for the tenth seed in the Western Conference, five full games behind the eighth seeded Memphis Grizzlies. The Thunder, on the other hand, are the sixth seed in the West and only one game behind the Houston Rockets.

DeMar DeRozan Injury Update: Listed as Doubtful for Spurs

DeMar DeRozan was a late scratch right before San Antonio’s game against the Denver Nuggets. For tonight’s game against the Thunder, DeRozan is listed as doubtful due to back spasms. Considering that he’d have plenty of time to rest his back during the All-Star break, expect the Spurs to give him another night off to avoid making the injury worse.

With DeRozan out, the Spurs would likely start Lonnie Walker IV at small forward in his place. Walker got the start against the Nuggets and is a good matchup against the Thunder.

Expect Marco Belinelli to get a boost in minutes. In fact, he was the main recipient of the extra minutes with DeRozan out against the Nuggets.

Thunder Getting Better and Better

Oklahoma City is 9-2 in their previous 11 games. No one on their team averages 20 or more points. Instead, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leads the way, averaging 19.6 points per game. Dennis Schroder and Danilo Gallinari are second and third on the team in scoring, with averages of 19.3 points and 19.2 points, respectively.

The best player on the Thunder, however, is arguably Chris Paul. The future Hall of Fame point guard is putting up averages of 17.2 points, 6.6 assists and 5.0 rebounds. His heady play and competitive spirit have led the Thunder to their surprisingly successful campaign.

Key Matchup – Spurs at Thunder

LaMarcus Aldridge is coming off of a very good game versus the Nuggets. In 35 minutes, Aldridge had 33 points, six rebounds and five assists. Against the Thunder, he will be matched up against Steven Adams.

While Adams is a respected defender, Aldridge has had a lot of success against him. In fact, last season Aldridge had his career-high of 56 points against the Thunder, with Adams as his main defender.

This season, Aldridge exploded for 39 against OKC, with a lot of it coming against Adams. For the Spurs to win this game, they will need another monstrous night from Aldridge, especially with DeRozan likely sidelined.

Prediction: Spurs at Thunder

The Spurs are major underdogs tonight. Oddsmakers have OKC as 8.5-point favorites, with a predicted final score of 113-105. I think the Spurs will be able to keep it closer than that, even if DeRozan misses the game.

Oklahoma City Thunder – 116 
San Antonio Spurs – 113