Thunder Going With Regular Starters Tonight While Spurs Rest
By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
The Spurs announced earlier they are resting all their stars for tonight’s game, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and LaMarcus Aldridge. Kawhi Leonard is actually hurt, he has a strained quad.
Thunder coach Billy Donovan won’t be resting anyone. The regular starters will start and Kyle Singler is also available after missing the last couple games with a sore lower back.
Preparing for a Spurs team that’s not really a Spurs is a “unique challenge” Donovan told reporters.
“We’ll probably never play a Spurs team like this,” Donovan added reminding everyone that he’s still a rookie coach in the NBA. Gregg Popovich has done this sort of thing plenty of times over the years and will do it plenty more.
He rested several of his other rotation players last night against Memphis and so tonight’s it’s the starters’ turn except for usual starting shooting guard Danny Green the Spurs will start backups Patty Mills, Kyle Anderson, Boris Diaw and Boban Marjanovic.
Though Donovan won’t rest anyone tonight he would not rule out doing so in the future coming down the stretch.
“We have a plan looking ahead at some games to see when anyone might need a rest,” he said. “We’ll talk to the players about any fatigue that might feel and the medical staff is looking at minutes played. The players are open-minded about it but I don’t want to break anyone rhythm.”
Thunder superstar Kevin Durant told reporters at shootaround earlier today he doesn’t need or want any rest.
“I got my rest last season and early this season (with injuries),” he reminded, “So I’m good.”
Tipoff is set for 7:10 and you can see it on Fox Sports Oklahoma locally and around the country on NBA-TV. Follow me on Twitter @RandyRenner for live updates from here at The Peake and we’ll have complete postgame coverage including blogs and a video report from the lockerroom after the game.