Preview: Thunder at Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs attempt to recover from a subpar effort when they begin a home-and-home with the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. The Spurs saw a season-high five-game winning streak evaporate as they shot a woeful 36.1 percent from the field during a 96-86 loss to the host Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich remains tied with Jerry Sloan (1,221) for third place on the all-time victories list after the listless effort against the Grizzlies that resulted in only the club’s fourth loss in the past 17 games. “It was one of those nights where the ball wouldn’t drop for us,” Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge told reporters after scoring 13 points on 4-of-12 shooting. “We couldn’t get out of it.” Oklahoma City is in a lull with a 4-5 mark over the past nine games after experiencing a 21-6 stretch. Star point guard Russell Westbrook recorded 25 points and 16 assists but also committed seven turnovers in Tuesday’s 119-117 home loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, FS Oklahoma, TNT
ABOUT THE THUNDER (25-15): Backup center Nerlens Noel is in the NBA concussion protocol after suffering a hard fall in Tuesday’s game against the Timberwolves and being hospitalized overnight. Noel received an elbow in the head from Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins in the third quarter and lost consciousness after hitting the floor and was taken off the court on a stretcher. “It’s just one of those crazy plays,” Oklahoma center Steven Adams told reporters after the game. “Fortunately, they responded quite quickly, the medical staff. I felt he was in the best hands.”
ABOUT THE SPURS (24-18): Shooting guard Bryn Forbes registered 14 points against the Grizzlies and has scored in double digits in 10 of the past 11 games. The third-year-pro has shown the ability to stretch defenses with his long-range shooting and has made at least three 3-pointers in the seven of the past 11 games. “Some people might say he’s overachieved,” veteran point guard Patty Mills told reporters of Forbes. “For me being with him every day, we were waiting for this moment for him to be able to do that. He grabbed it with both hands and ran with it.”
1. The Thunder have lost six straight regular-season games in San Antonio.
2. Spurs SF Rudy Gay (wrist) will miss his third straight game.
3. Oklahoma City SF Paul George recorded 27 points against Minnesota and has scored 20 or more in each of his past 15 appearances.