The Oklahoma City Thunder added All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Paul George to a roster that already included reigning MVP Russell Westbrook, but the production of the role players on the roster could determine how far the team goes. The Thunder will try to get another strong performance from someone other than the big three and earn a second consecutive win when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.
George went for 36 points in Friday’s 111-107 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, but the performance of the game came from center Steven Adams, who scored 27 points by going 11-of-11 from the field and 5-of-5 from the free-throw line. “His presence was felt,” Westbrook told reporters of Adams. “He did a good job of just being in the paint all night long and using his size and length.” The Spurs have size and length in the form of power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who scored a game-high 22 points in Friday’s 95-78 win at Memphis — San Antonio’s fourth straight win and eighth in the last 10 games. Aldridge scored 26 points when the Spurs overcame a 23-point deficit and knocked off Oklahoma City 104-101 at home on Nov. 17.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBATV, FS Southwest (San Antonio), FS Oklahoma
ABOUT THE SPURS (15-7): Aldridge is close to getting more help in the form of All-Star Kawhi Leonard, who is practicing with the full team as he continues to recover from a quad injury. Leonard is traveling with the team on the trip in order to continue practicing but is still not cleared to return to game action. In the meantime, San Antonio is getting solid work at the small forward spot from Kyle Anderson and Rudy Gay, who combined to go 8-of-12 from the floor in Friday’s win.
ABOUT THE THUNDER (9-12): Oklahoma City is working on building chemistry with Westbrook, George and Anthony, and Friday’s win marked a step in the right direction. “It was just about finding guys,” George told reporters. “We draw so much attention, myself, Russ, Melo, that we have to be mindful when we do draw that attention. That’s what this offense has got to be about. When we bring two to the ball, we have to move it, we have to play off of one another.” Westbrook handed out 14 assists on Friday while Anthony sacrificed some shots to the hotter hands and ended up 4-of-7 from the floor in 29 minutes
1. Westbrook went 0-of-8 from 3-point range on Friday after going 7-of-10 in a loss at Orlando on Wednesday.
2. Spurs SG Danny Green went scoreless on 0-of-7 shooting Friday — the second time in the last five games that he missed all of his field-goal attempts.
3. Oklahoma City F Jerami Grant is shooting 51.6 percent from the floor but failed to score in double figures in any of the last five games.
PREDICTION: Spurs 106, Thunder 101