NBA Spotlight: San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder

San Antonio. Oklahoma City. Two weeks left in the season. Two 50-win teams. Sadly, Saturday night’s game in Oklahoma City has almost no significance, other than being a second round playoff preview. Barring a historic collapse by any of the teams, Golden State is locked into the 1-seed, San Antonio the 2-seed, and Oklahoma City the 3-seed. San Antonio’s visit to Oklahoma City is our National Spotlight Game.

Date and Time: Saturday, March 26th 2016 at 8:00pm ET
Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Watch: NBA TV
Spread: n/a (Follow up-to-the-minute line moves as they happen here)

They don’t mean much, but a few fun trends heading into the game courtesy of OddsShark

  • San Antonio is 4-8 against the spread in its last 12 games.
  • Oklahoma City is 15-7-1-ATS in the last 23 games between these two teams, including 10-2 ATS at home.
  • The total has gone under in six of San Antonio’s last seven road games.
  • The Spurs are 2-5 ATS in the second half of a back-to-back (7-0 straight-up).

Who to Watch: Classic Gregg Poppovich! LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are all ruled out for tonight’s game, and Kawhi Leonard is doubtful with a quad bruise. San Antonio’s second team is probably better than ten teams in the NBA, but the Thunder isn’t one of them.

What’s the Key: Oklahoma City’s offense is rarely an issue, but can they find consistent defense heading into the playoffs? Over the last two weeks, the Thunder put together some defensive gems, holding the Spurs to 93, the Blazers to 94, and the Jazz to 91. But over that time, they’ve also given up 111 to the Pacers and 109 to the Celtics. There are 10, 15, 20-point differences from game-to-game in OKC’s defense. The Thunder allowed 91 to the Jazz on Thursday night. Can they follow it up with another strong defensive performance against a team playing without their top (five?!) players in the lineup?

Where We’re Leaning: Last Saturday against the Warriors, the Spurs had something to play for. They were trying to protect their perfect home record, they still had an outside shot at the 1-seed in the West, and they were trying to erase the memories of a 30-point defeat to the Warriors from earlier this season. Tonight against the Thunder? Not so much, as evident by the number of “DNP-Rest” entries you’re going to see on the stat sheet. Both teams are virtually locked into their playoff seeds with no chance to move up or down. The Spurs are in the second half of a back-to-back after defeating the Grizzlies on Friday night. Linesmakers have been in no rush to release a spread for this game. At full strength, this line should probably be in the neighborhood of Spurs -2, where there would likely be some value on the Thunder as a home underdog. But with the amount of people not expected to play tonight, that value is certain to disappear. Enjoy this one as a fan and get re-energized for this rivalry in a month when they’re almost certain to meet in the second round of the playoffs.

Direct from Las Vegas, WagerTalk TV host Marco D’Angelo (@MarcoInVegas) along with Bryan Leonard (@BLeonardSports) and Sports Cheetah (@SportsCheetah) handicap the Saturday night NBA matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs.

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