Where: Chesapeake Arena; Oklahoma City, OK
See It: FSN
Hear It: WCCO AM 830
Author Note: Charles Chaney of Thunder Obsessed and I decided to exchange game preview features for our respective sites. Thunder Obsessed is one of my favorite Thunder blogs, and have enjoyed contributing there from time-to-time. Below, Charles gives his thoughts on tonight’s Northwest Division matchup. Follow him on Twitter, @ThunderObsessed.
Since losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 20th, Oklahoma City Thunder have looked less like the Western Conference favorite, and more like a team with a lot of questions about heart and more importantly, defense. Oklahoma City comes into tonight’s game with a 6-2 since the match up in Minneapolis.
What has caused this team to drop three games in their last nine after winning 12 in a row? The league and a bit tougher schedule? Probably. However, getting started has been a real struggle getting started. The Thunder are now just 1-4 when they trail in the first quarter. However, to combat that stat, Oklahoma City is a solid, and league best 23-1 when they score over 100 points this season.
Unlike their previous match up with the Timberwolves, sixth man sharp shooter, Kevin Martin, will actually play. Oklahoma City was a pathetic 5-of-20 from deep against the T-Wolves last time, this time they have the league’s sixth (based on 100 or more shots) best three-point shooter back. Also, doesn’t hurt that Minnesota is missing Kevin Love.
Losing to the Washington Wizards on Monday night was basically a recipe of everything I’ve mentioned above, but with the Wizard’s added advantage of the one handed runner by Bradley Beal. Thunder players are pissed. Kevin Durant said it was on his shoulders and he’s tired of losses like this. Nick Collison said it was a habit they need to break. Good to know though, Oklahoma City is 6-1 coming off a loss. Winning margin? 14.3 points per game.
Which Thunder team will we all see tonight? We’ll see how much they actually care first, then we’ll know.
It’s a little negative on the thunder. but meh, it’s how I feel right now.
Note: Rick Adelman didn’t travel with the team to Oklahoma City after not coaching last night’s game, but may end up coaching tonight. If not, Terry Porter will handle the duties once again.
Projected Starting Fives:
Russell Westbrook — PG — Luke Ridnour
Thabo Sefolosha — SG — Alexey Shved
Kevin Durant — SF — Andrei Kirilenko
Serge Ibaka — PF — Dante Cunningham
Kendrick Perkins — C — Nikola Pekovic