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Spurs face Thunder, try to rebound from back-to-back losses

Tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on FSN Southwest

CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 21: Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs talks to head coach Gregg Popovich during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on January 21, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 21: Manu Ginobili #20 of the San Antonio Spurs talks to head coach Gregg Popovich during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on January 21, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

SAN ANTONIO – For only the second time this year, the San Antonio Spurs will be trying to end a two game losing streak after dropping a game on the road in New Orleans and then coming home and losing to the Dallas Mavericks Sunday night at the AT&T Center.

Both loses were to teams under .500.

Tuesday night, the Spurs, (36-11), the 2nd best team in the West and they will be hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder, currently ranked sixth in the West (28-20) It is the first meeting of the season between the two teams.

"It's a good test, I prefer to play a good team a team that presents a great challenge at this point when we need to step up," said Spurs Guard Manu Ginobili.  

After the loss to Dallas 105-101 Sunday, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich addressed the mental errors the Spurs committed on defense, especially in the second half, something the team has been working on in preparing for OKC.

"They are things we can't afford to make because teams will make you pay especially a guy like Russell (Westbrook) and OKC will definitely make you pay for mental errors," said Spur Guard Patty Mills.

Westbrook is arguably the best player in the league this year, at least numbers wise. He is averaging a triple double, 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists per game.

"He is a high energy, very competitive and enthusiastic player and he plays with a big heart. It's obviously a team job to try and contain him," said Spurs Guard Patty Mills.  

If they are going to contain him and have a shot at a win, their defense will have to improve immensely against OKC. Ginobili was asked at Tuesday mornings workout what needed to change.

"First consistently, because for moments we do it well were just not reliable for 48 minutes, then being attentive and follow the gameplan," Ginobili said.  

The Spurs are still without Pau Gasol while thunder are without Enes Kanter, who punched a chair on the bench and broke his arm, that was during a win over Dallas. 

ABOUT THE SPURS (36-11): San Antonio blew a 15-point second-quarter lead against Dallas and stands 16-6 at home this season after matching the league record with a 40-1 mark last season. The drop in home success isn't just due to the venue as coach Gregg Popovich was dismayed by a sloppy performance and veteran guard Manu Ginobili could only agree with Popovich's assessment.

"(Sunday) was mental errors, mainly, communication errors, the ones that shouldn't happen. He wasn't happy and we aren't happy. We are competitors and we want to win, too. Of course, we want to play again and have a better game."

BUZZER BEATERS

1. The teams split four meetings last season.

2. San Antonio PF/C David Lee is receiving a bigger role with C Pau Gasol (hand) sidelined and is averaging 12.8 points and 8.7 rebounds while shooting 64.8 percent from the field over the past six games.

3. Oklahoma City SG Victor Oladipo is averaging 17.4 points over the past five games and reached at least 15 points in 13 of the last 15 contests.


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