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NBA Preview from The Sports Network

Saturday, January 1st (All times eastern)

Oklahoma City Thunder (23-11) at San Antonio Spurs (28-4), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The sizzling San Antonio Spurs hope to keep building on the best start in franchise history when they host the talented Oklahoma City Thunder in the Alamo City.

Gary Neal scored a team-high 21 points off the bench Thursday, helping the Spurs to a 99-93 victory over the Dirk Nowitzki-less Dallas Mavericks in a high-powered Southwest Division matchup.

Tim Duncan rebounded from a career low-tying two-point effort in Tuesday's win over the Los Angeles Lakers to post 17 points and 11 boards for the division- leading Spurs, who have won three in a row and 13 of 14 overall. Manu Ginobili added 15 points and eight rebounds, while Tony Parker had 14 points, six boards and five assists.

"We were fortunate in a lot of ways," said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. "I don't think we were very sharp and I thought Dallas showed a lot of character, a lot of class, which one would expect. They were very aggressive, fired up and really got after it and played a damn good game, and we were fortunate to get out of here with a win."

The Thunder, meanwhile, finished a four-game homestand at 3-1 with a 103-94 victory over Atlanta on New Year's Eve. Russell Westbrook posted a triple- double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in that one.

Kevin Durant added 33 points for Oklahoma City, which has won nine of their past 12 games and now leads the Northwest Division by one-half game over Utah. James Harden tallied 15 points in a reserve role in the victory.

"I thought we played a very good team tonight. They're a physical team, they rebound, they defend as well as anybody we will play this year," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks. "I thought we did a good job of matching their strength of being physical, as physical as they were."

San Antonio, which will be shooting for its 12th straight home win tonight, has taken four straight over the Thunder, including a 117-104 win in Oklahoma City back on Nov. 14.

01/01 10:39:15 ET

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