The OKC Thunder return to Chesapeake seeking their first home win as they host the Spurs. TI serves up five chalkboard notes as keys to winning.
A very productive road trip for the OKC Thunder finds them sitting on the eighth rung of the West’s playoff ladder. They return home to host the San Antonio Spurs looking to win their first game at Chesapeake this season.
While the two squads have definitive differences they also share some odd similarities. Like the Thunder, the Spurs have played well on the road and surprised elite teams.
The Thunder are returning from a five-game road trip with victories versus the Magic, Pelicans, Knicks, and Nets. Similarly, the Spurs will finish their own five-game road trip where they defeated the Lakers, Clippers and took one of the two games against the Wolves.
It may only be the tenth game of the season but the Thunder have proven they won’t mail in games. They are still expected to land in the lottery, hopefully with the top pick. For the moment everything is win-win as this early success should lead to driving up the asking price for veterans George Hill and Al Horford.
San Antonio will endeavor to make the postseason, but like the Thunder will use this year to develop their own youthful talents Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, Lonnie Walker, Derrick White, and rookie Devin Vassell.
Although the Spurs haven’t anointed a new superstar or Big 3 the above quintet offers a solid foundation for Gregg Popovich to craft the next Spurs era around.
With so many rising talents this match is sure to be entertaining and if the Thunder continue to play like they did this past weekend also net their first home win of the season.
With that, I give you five keys for Thunder to capture the victory.
OKC Thunder chalkboard note 1: Prepare to be busy on defense
Perhaps the most surprising San Antonio stat is they rank first in the association for field goal attempts. Yeah, you read that correctly. It’s not offensive juggernaut squads or teams who race up and down the court like the Wizards, Kings, Bucks, or Lakers. Nope – it’s the Spurs who attempt the most field goals per match.
While San Antonio has a renewed focus on increasing pace they aren’t far off last season’s results (101.14). They’ve moved up a smidgen to 101.69 which ranks 11th in the league.
Their 94.4 shot attempts per game are almost two more shots than the closest opponent and three more than the seventh-ranked Bucks. For perspective, the OKC Thunder rank 24th with 85.6 attempts per game.
With the sheer volume of shots, the Spurs take, Mark Daigneault will need to have his club ready for early attempts and to cut down passing lanes.