Thunder’s Schroder ready for another chance vs. Spurs

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Dennis Schroder is playing a big part of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s success this season.

The 26-year-old guard has taken to this role as Oklahoma City’s sixth man, and plenty of times late in close games, he has been on the court alongside Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to give the Thunder a formidable three-guard look.

However, Schroder hasn’t been at his best against the San Antonio Spurs this season.

He and the Thunder will get another chance Tuesday night when they host a Spurs team entering the second night of a back-to-back set.

The Spurs saw their losing streak reach five games Monday with a 127-120 road loss to the Denver Nuggets.

In two games against San Antonio this season, Schroder is shooting 40 percent, substantially lower than he’s shooting overall this season (47.4 percent). San Antonio has held him to a 15-point scoring average, more than four points per game fewer than his season mark of 19.3.

Schroder is coming off a tough game in the Thunders’ 112-111 loss to the visiting Boston Celtics on Sunday. In that contest, he didn’t shoot poorly overall but was just 5 of 14 from inside the 3-point arc.

He had several layups that went in and out.

“I work on them every day,” Schroder said. “Felt pretty good about them, shot them, didn’t make them.”

Even with the Sunday loss, the Thunder come play Tuesday having won nine of their past 11.

In the middle of a stretch during which they will go 25 days without a home game, San Antonio has started its season-high, eight-game road trip with five consecutive defeats.

On Monday, the Spurs were up by as many as 23 points in the third quarter, but Denver scored 74 second-half points to finish off the comeback.

With one game remaining for the Spurs (22-31) before the All-Star break, they are just five losses from their most defeats in an entire season since Gregg Popovich took over as full-time head coach 23 seasons ago. San Antonio went 47-35 in 2017-18.

Late in the game at Denver, LaMarcus Aldridge moved into the top 50 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. He finished with 33 points, and no one else on the Spurs scored more than 15.

“He was great,” Popovich said postgame. “Everybody played really well. They did the best they could, there’s nothing else I could ask of them.”

Oklahoma City and San Antonio have split their first two meetings this season, both in San Antonio. The Thunder and the Spurs will play twice in Oklahoma City in 12 days.

The Tuesday game wraps up a four-game homestand for the Thunder before they hit the road to face the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday in their final game before the break.

The Spurs could be without veteran DeMar DeRozan on Tuesday. He missed sat out a game for the first time this season on Monday due to back spasms.

The Thunder will be without rookie Darius Bazley for at least four weeks after he sustained a right knee bone bruise in the Sunday loss to Boston.

–Field Level Media

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