Spurs vs. Pelicans (8pm ET Thursday, TNT)
On Wednesday, the Spurs beat the Pistons 97-81, for their 29th consecutive home win while clinching a playoff berth for the 19th consecutive season. After leading by just one at the half, the Spurs pulled away in the third quarter and coasted through a fourth quarter that saw the two teams score just 34 points combined. Kawhi Leonard led all scorers with 27 while LaMarcus Aldridge went 23-10. The Spurs are now 51-9, good for second in the West, and at +12.6 points per game, remain on-pace to set the NBA record for point differential.
Meanwhile, the Pelicans saw head coach Alvin Gentry lose his cool last night after watching his team commit 22 turnovers in a loss to the Rockets. “We come out here after every game and we talk about, ‘Well, you know, we’re still in the playoff race.’ No, we’re not. We’re not,” Gentry said after the game. “What we are is, we’re a team that – when we have an opportunity to do something, we didn’t get it done. So, that is the bottom line.” The Pelicans lost 100-95 on a night when they led by six with 2:43 to play, and the Rockets made just three of 34 three-point attempts. The loss dropped the Pelicans to 23-36, tying them for 11th in the West and five games out of the playoff picture. Hard to argue with Coach.
Thunder vs. Warriors (10:30pm ET Thursday, TNT)
On Saturday, the Thunder fell victim to Steph Curry’s instant-legend 38-footer with .6 seconds left in a 121-118 loss. But what happened Wednesday was probably worse when they kicked away a 22-point lead over the Clippers on their way to a 103-98 loss. The Thunder shot a miserable 39.8% from the floor (four of 18 in the fourth quarter), including 28.6% from three, got to the line just 11 times and committed 17 turnovers to the Clippers’ six. Here’s a list of teams that have won this season while shooting poorly and committing so many turnovers and forcing so few: Nobody.
Unfortunately for the Thunder, they must follow up these dispiriting losses with a visit from the Golden State Warriors, winners of six in a row and, at 54-5, proud owners of the best record in the NBA. On Tuesday, the Warriors beat the Hawks 109-105 despite Curry (ankle) and Andre Iguodola (hamstring) sitting out the game. The Warriors had an 11-point lead at the half, but squandered it to send them into OT to put it away on a night when they overcame not just the absence of two starters, but the combined 14-of-42 shooting of Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, who was an assist short of posting his 12th triple-double. Curry and Iguodola are listed as questionable for tonight. A victory would be the Warriors’ 44th in a row, tying them with the ‘95-’96 Bulls for most consecutive home wins. The Warriors are on track to win 75 games, three more than those same record-setting Bulls.