Oklahoma City Thunder (3-1, 1-1 away) at Detroit Pistons (2-2, 2-1 home)
Where: Palace of Auburn Hills – Auburn Hills, Mich.
When: 6:30 p.m.
TV: FS Oklahoma (679 Directv, 37 Cox, 754 AT&T U-Verse, 416 Dish)
Online Stream: Here.
Radio: WWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: OKC favored by 3.5 . O/U – 197
|PG:||Russell Westbrook||Brandon Jennings|
|SG:||Thabo Sefolosha||Chauncey Billups|
|SF:||Kevin Durant||Josh Smith|
|PF:||Serge Ibaka||Greg Monroe|
|C:||Kendrick Perkins||Andre Drummond|
Last Time: The Oklahoma City Thunder swept the two game series with the Detroit Pistons last season, including the 92-90 win in Auburn Hills. Three days earlier, Oklahoma City won the first meeting in OKC 105-94.
Well, Russell Westbrook is back with a vengeance. He took the Dallas Mavericks apart on Wednesday night in front of a national audience. It was really impressive and showed that Oklahoma City is still to be reckoned with this season.
Oklahoma City won their 11th straight game over the Dallas Mavericks by winning 107-93 on Wednesday night. Kevin Durant had a double-double, 23 points, 10 assists. Oklahoma City had four players score in double figures, including Serge Ibaka. Ibaka scored 17 points, 10 rebounds, his first double-double of the season. Also, was the first time that Ibaka scored in double digits this season.
With the win over Dallas, Oklahoma City is now 2-0 since Westbrook’s return and have looked like a completely different team. They’re averaging 105.0 points per game with Westbrook and just 91.0 PPG without Westbrook. With honey badger back now, the Thunder have been sharing the ball a lot more as well. Thunder averaged just 12.5 assists per game, and now doubling their assists, averaging 24 per game.
Now Oklahoma City must move on and turn their attention to the Detroit Pistons. No, this isn’t the same Pistons team that we’re used to seeing. They made some off season moves, bringing in Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings. They’re an up and coming team. It’s showed so far this season. The Pistons are different in the fact that they can actually score some now. Detroit were just 22nd in scoring last season, but they’re 13th already.
Reggie Jackson is questionable with a hip contusion for tonight’s game. He left Wednesday’s contest at halftime, did not return.
Charlie Villanueva is out for tonight’s game with a sore shoulder. He’s missed all four games this year for detroit.
In the overall series with the Pistons, it’s a tight one. Oklahoma City leads the series 63-62. That’s right, separated by one single game. Since the franchise moved from Seattle, Oklahoma City holds the 8-1 series advantage. Oklahoma City lost the first game on an Allen Iverson buzzer beater back in 2008. Since then, the Thunder have been on a tear. Winning all eight games by almost 10 points per game. The Thunder are 3-1 at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Keys to the Game
Oklahoma City’s bench was great versus Dallas. They tallied in 37.3 points per game from their bench over their last three games, that’s one of the best in the league. For Oklahoma City to pull out their third straight victory, the Thunder will need some quality production from their bench.
With Westbrook back, the Thunder need to get out and run. They’re averaging 20 points in transition with him back, compared to just 13.5 points without him. So, getting the Thunder out in transition is vital to the Thunder getting some distance between them and the Pistons
Let the Pistons self destruct
Here’s the deal – They’re still the Pistons. They have Jennings and Smith. While they’re both solid players, they’re both known for their self destruction sequences. Smith loves the mid-range jumper, for some unknown reason. It’s not a very good one either. Jennings is known to take bad shots, so let him. Don’t help them out. Let them do it on their own.