The San Antonio Spurs bring the second-best NBA record into OKC for a showdown that has major implications for the Western Conference playoffs. The Spurs (50-13) enter just a game-and-a-half back of the Durant-less Warriors with a chance to overtake them. But if the playoffs began today, the Spurs second-place finish would pit them against the Thunder, currently in 7th in the Western Conference. So tonight’s game could be a preview of a first round matchup.
The Thunder-Spurs is also a head-to-head showcase of two of the leading candidates for NBA MVP, Russell Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard. Westbrook has a chance to actually average a triple-double this season, something that hasn’t been thought possible since Oscar Robertson hung up his sneakers. Leonard’s MVP consideration rests on the value he brings to the Spurs on both ends of the court — and how it has led the Spurs to yet another stellar season. Both guys will — and this is the sign of real MVP-worthiness — be more focused on getting a team win than any individual accolades.