When the dust settles after tonight’s duel between Western Conference top guns San Antonio and Oklahoma City, several significant streaks will either continue or get stopped cold.
Coach Popovich’s guys own the NBA’s best record at 59-16 and have won an incredible 19 contests in a row, including last night’s home dismantling of the Golden State Warriors, 111-90.
The 54-19 Thunder hold the league’s second best mark. Leading 2014 NBA MVP candidate Kevin Durant has scored at least 25 points in 38 consecutive games, second only to Michael Jordan’s 40-game streak way back in the ’86-’87 season.
Also on the line this evening are OKC’s four straight W’s over their Western Conference brethren, including all three meetings this season. In addition, the Spurs have lost six straight in Oklahoma City including the playoffs.
Not only do the Spurs have something to prove, but with about two weeks left in the regular season, a San Antonio victory tonight would give them a five-game cushion over the Thunder for the top slot in the West.
However, with tonight’s 48 being the back half of a back-to-back and SAS’s fifth game in seven nights, it will be interesting to see if the wizened Popovich decides to limit his stars’ minutes, bearing the big playoff picture in mind, or to put the pedal to the metal in what could possibly be a preview of this year’s Western Conference Finals.
The rested Thunder, winners of 6 of their last 7, last played on Sunday night against the Jazz. In their 116-96 home W over Utah, Coach Scott Brooks’ squad shot 55% from the field, 61% from 3 and 89% from the line. The always spectacular Durant had 31 points and 9 dimes in only 29 minutes of floor time.
These two sides last matched up on January 22nd in San Antonio. In the 111-105 Thunder win, KD went for 36 and, playing for the injured Russell Westbrook, 3rd-year PG Reggie Jackson put up 27 points, 8 dimes and 2 steals. It was more of an offensive than a defensive battle, with both teams shooting above 50% as well as lighting it up from the 3.
Tune in to TNT at 8PM ET to see if the team with both the best overall record as well as the best road record can finally take one from KD & Company.