- The Spurs come in on the second night of a back-to-back riding a franchise record 19-game regular season winning streak, but they are 0-3 against Oklahoma City this season. San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich has decided to sit sixth man Manu Ginobili but he will play his other regulars. Pop wouldn’t say if Ginobili is nursing an injury or simply being rested on the second night of a back-to-back, “he’s out,” is all he would say.
- The Thunder also faced lineup questions today, all due to injury issues. OKC head coach Scott Brooks told reporters before the game he finally had some good news. Backup point guard Reggie Jackson will play after missing two games with a sprain in his mid-back. Center Kendrick Perkins is also back in the lineup after missing 17 games with a strained groin. “Perk will only go about five minutes in each half, but it’s great to have him back,” Brooks said. Thunder superstar Kevin Durant hinted that Jackson would play tonight, telling reporters at shootaround, “I’m glad (Jackson’s) back healthy and I’m glad he gets the opportunity to play.” In three games against the Spurs Jackson is averaging 23.7 points and scored a career-high 27 the last time these two teams met back in January.
- During their streak the Spurs are averaging 111.2 points and holding opponents to just 94.7, their bench is averaging 50.4 points, 15.1 points more than their opponents bench players and Kawhi Leonard is the only Spur to average 30 minutes a game over those 19 wins and he’s just at 30.1. Duncan (28.6), Parker (27.6) and Ginobili (22) are all well below.
- The Spurs are finishing up a stretch of five games in seven nights, the Thunder are starting one, with four of those five on the road.
- San Antonio is 48-1 when leading after three quarters and lead the NBA in fourth quarter scoring, averaging 27.2 points in the last 12 minutes.
- Durant has scored at least 25 points in 38 straight games, just two shy of tying Michael Jordan’s 40 game streak from 1986-87, the longest in the last 50 years. Before putting up 37 against the Spurs in January, Durant had averaged just 22.3 in the six games before that one.
– Randy Renner