Thursday, June 13, 2024
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NBA Preview: San Antonio Spurs (3-7) at Oklahoma City Thunder (6-4)

Two of the early favorites for NBA Rookie of the Year meet when Victor Wembanyama and the visiting San Antonio Spurs face Chet Holmgren and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.

Both teams are looking for their first in-season tournament wins. Oklahoma City has dropped games to Sacramento and Golden State, while San Antonio lost its tournament opener to Minnesota.

Wembanyama, the No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA Draft, has been fantastic, averaging 19.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.4 blocks.

In Sunday’s loss to Miami, Wembanyama was just 8-for-22 from the field but dished out seven assists to go with 18 points and 11 boards.

The Spurs come into Tuesday’s game averaging 29.9 assists per game, second in the NBA.

Holmgren was the No. 2 pick in the 2022 draft but missed last season due to a foot injury.

The 7-foot-1 power forward is averaging 16.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.3 blocks.

Holmgren has integrated well into a team that made the play-in game last season, complementing players like Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams.

Integrating into the team was not only important for Holmgren but also for Thunder coach Mark Daigneault.

Daigneault said he didn’t put expectations on Holmgren’s back beyond that, though.

The Thunder have won three of their last four and are coming off a 111-99 win at Phoenix on Sunday.

After a 3-2 start, the Spurs have lost five consecutive games.

One of the biggest problems for San Antonio has been on the defensive end. The Spurs’ 119.8 defensive rating — points allowed per 100 possessions — is among the worst and their minus-11.3 net rating is the league’s worst.

But Spurs coach Gregg Popovich isn’t too discouraged by the recent struggles.

The Spurs on Sunday were without backup point guard Tre Jones, who was a late scratch due to hamstring tightness.

This is the first of four meetings this season. The Thunder won all three meetings with the Spurs last season.

World Elite Syndicate

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