Thunder vs. Spurs: San Antonio Defense Will Clamp Down on OKC

Lucas Parolin@@Lucas_ParolinCorrespondent IMarch 11, 2013

Tim Duncan
Tim DuncanChristian Petersen/Getty Images

Despite allowing 136 points in their last game, expect the San Antonio Spurs to come up with all the big stops tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Everybody was shocked when the Portland Trailblazers gave the Spurs their worst loss in AT&T Center history, but lightning doesn't strike twice in the same spot. Look for the Spurs to make a comeback against their Western Conference foe tonight, and here's why.


Veteran, Proud Team

Here's a fun challenge: Try finding an article on the Spurs written in the last five years that doesn't mention their advanced age, for better or for worse. Even if you are able to find one, it's safe to say it wasn't that easy. 

Well, it is true. The Spurs are the 8th oldest team in the NBA and do feature players like the 36-year-old Tim Duncan. Now, having a veteran team doesn't only equate to experience and minutes-managing. It also makes for one proud team. 

The Spurs veterans' (read: Popovich, Ginobili and Duncan) ego was most definitely hurt after the Portland game, and they will do everything in their power to make sure it doesn't happen again. Take Manu Ginobili's words, for example:

I go through two things. During the game I’m embarrassed. You can’t take it and you try and do too many things. You say, 'they kicked our butts,' but then you have to erase it and move on to Oklahoma City.

Ginobili and the gang will make sure they are never "embarrassed" again.


Playoffs Implication

Did you have this Thunder-Spurs showdown circled in your calendar since the beginning of the year? If not, shame on you.

Since day one, there was no doubt that these two teams would contend for the Western Conference title (one could have made an argument for the Los Angeles Lakers, but that's a topic for another article). Now, with about twenty games left in teams' schedules, they are poised to face each other—with only one game separating the two. 

That's right: The Spurs sit at the top of the Western Conference standings, with the Thunder trailing behind at a close second place. 

The Thunder and the Spurs have met twice this season and have split wins. After tonight, they will play one more time, on April 4 in San Antonio.

Do we really need to tell you these two games may shape up the entire 2013 playoffs?