Archive - December 2017

Thunder Digits: Adams, OKC defense saves the day

After an embarrassing home loss to the Charlotte Hornets, the Oklahoma City Thunder responded with a gritty 100-95 road win over the Indiana Pacers. It was pretty ugly offensively, especially for the Big Three. It was the Thunder’s defense that kept them alive and a big game from Steven Adams that led the way to the win. Here are some key numbers from tonight’s win.

23

Adams had a monumental in tonight’s win, putting up 23 points on 69 percent shooting from the floor. He also added 13 rebounds, nine of those being on the offensive end. He gave the Thunder many second chances offensively, and was by far the most physical player on the court.

34

It was an awful night for Thunder’s big three, who were abysmal from the floor, and only combined for 34 of the team’s 100 points. They also combined to shoot just 22 percent from the floor, none of the three stars hitting more than four total field goals all night.

29

It was a big night for the Thunder bench, who combined for 29 bench points. They were very consistent, even when all of the big three were out of the game. They were either cutting down deficits or maintaining the lead for Oklahoma City. Patrick Patterson was a bright spot who looked like a guy the Thunder need, playing great defense and hitting big three-pointers.

9

Even with his shot not falling most of the night, Westbrook made his presence known with his ninth triple double of the season. He finished the night with 10 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists. Westbrook and Adams two-man game was very strong tonight, while also Russell got Oklahoma City in transition with all his rebounds on the defensive end.

14

Alex Abrines continues to flourish while being in the starting lineup for the injured Andre Roberson. He finished the night with 14 points on 63 percent shooting from the floor. He had a key offensive putback late in the fourth that gave Oklahoma City the lead, while also hitting four of his six three-point attempts throughout the game. Abrines had a slow start to the season, but has really found his stride in the last couple weeks.

18

A big difference in this game was the free throw numbers. Oklahoma City shot 18 more free throws than Indiana did. The Pacers shot just six free throws, compared to the Thunder’s 24 attempts. Even though Oklahoma City only made 15 of those attempts, the poor percentage did not matter since they shot so many more than Indiana.

19

Victor Oladipo has been on fire much of the season, and it was crucial Oklahoma City slowed him down in order for the Thunder to get a win tonight. Victor did finish with a solid 19 points, but Oklahoma City held him to just 37 percent shooting from the floor. That is even more impressive considering that Thunder’s best perimeter defender in Roberson was out tonight.

13

When Oklahoma City can hit a decent amount of three-pointers at a good percentage, it usually leads to good things. The Thunder hit 13 total threes tonight, four of those coming from the bench unit. They shot 45 percent from three, even though it was a rough night offensively for the big three. Abrines led the way with his four makes from deep, while Carmelo and George each hit two from deep as well.

2.5

After tonight’s win, it probably shows Oklahoma City fans should not be in panic mode, as they are just 2.5 games back from the four seed. Thunder currently sit at the eight seed, just a game below .500. If the Thunder can string a few together in the next couple weeks, they will be right at the top half of the conference once again.

 

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Thunder beat Pacers in Paul George’s return

While Paul George gathered up all of the pre-game chatter. He took in the boos and the jeers. However, it was Steven Adams who brought it tonight, scoring 23 points and pulling down 13 rebounds as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Indiana Pacers 100-95.

Oklahoma City improves to 13-14 on the year and won five of the last seven.

In Paul George’s first return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse since being traded in June, the boos reigned down from the first time he took the court for warm ups to his last touches in the final seconds. While the crowd wasn’t overly aggressive or anything, it had an apparent effect on George as he struggled shooting all night, finishing only 3-of-14 from the floor for 12 points.

While the Big Three struggled all evening long, it was Steven Adams who came to the rescue. Adams had 15 points at halftime and was the catalyst for everything Oklahoma City did. He was a scoring and rebound machine. He also had a huge hand in the clutch possession, forcing Thaddeus Young into a turnover. Oklahoma City rode the Kiwi train all the way to victory town.

After a sluggish first quarter, Raymond Felton and the Oklahoma City Thunder bench found the lead, with a 9-0 run to start the second quarter. Oklahoma City eventually took the league late in the quarter and held a 51-46 lead at halftime.

Russell Westbrook pulled down his ninth triple-double of the season and the 35th of 2017, which is an NBA record for a calendar year.

The Pacer’s winning streak ended at four as they had won 11 of their last 15.



Indiana charged back early in the third quarter, taking a 63-59 lead as Thunder nation held their breath. However, Oklahoma City would outscore the Pacers 14-6 down the stretch, taking a 73-69 lead into the fourth quarter.

Oklahoma City’s bench did their job again with a couple of Patrick Patterson three-pointers, including one to give Oklahoma City a 92-81 lead with 5:16 remaining in the game.

Indiana would get within 96-95 with 40.8 seconds remaining but a last second tip in by Alex Abrines gave Oklahoma City a three-point lead for good. George would ice the game with two free throws.

“I was impressed. He’s not a very strong guy,” Josh Huestis said of Abrines.

With the victory, coupled with the Jazz loss, the Oklahoma City Thunder moved into the eighth spot in the Western Conference.

Oklahoma City will continue the show on the road as they head to the East coast for a back-to-back with Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night. Then, it’s Ron Baker and the New York Knicks on Saturday night. Both games are scheduled to tip-off at 6 p.m. CST.

Keys to the Game

Defend the three: B

While the Pacers made 35.5 percent of their threes, you really have to examine how they got to the point. Outside of the opening quarter, the Thunder held the Pacers to 6-of-20 (30 percent). Quality close out defense really helped the Thunder tonight.

Bench: A+

Tonight, the bench was amazing. They were why Oklahoma City was even in the game. They were why the Thunder even fought. When you have these players come off the bench, cold as ever, and contribute, it gives your team a boost. Oklahoma City’s bench scored 29 points tonight, well above their season average of 23 points.

Make your free throws: D

The Thunder missed a bunch of free throws again, only made 62.5 percent. Oklahoma City has to and I mean HAS to find a way to make their free throws. Westbrook missed four free throws and Anthony missed two himself. Oklahoma City has to figure this out.

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Thunder Game Day No. 27: at Indiana Pacers

Oklahoma City Thunder (12-14, 3-10 away) vs. Indiana Pacers (16-11, 10-4 away)

Wednesday, Dec. 13 :: 6:00 p.m. CST :: Bankers Life Fieldhouse (20,000)
Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27) | 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
Coverage: ESPN (DirectTV 206, Cox 29, HD 1300, Tulsa Cox HD 1025)
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 1-point favorite. The over/under is 213.
Online Stream: Fox Sports Go | ESPNWWLS Sports AnimalLive Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Pacers: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • Paul George makes his iconic return to Indianapolis to play the Indiana Pacers in Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the first time since being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
  • In Mid-June, George notified the Pacers he would not be re-signing with them, but wanted to make them aware, so they can do what’s best for the organization. Around two weeks later, the Pacers shipped him off to Oklahoma City for Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo.
  • In their first meeting, the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the doors off the Indiana Pacers 114-96 on Oct. 25. Russell Westbrook had a season high 16 assists in the victory.
  • The Thunder are looking to sweep the season series for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Brian Davis and Michael Cage call the game on the Thunder’s flagship station, Fox Sports Oklahoma. You can watch the game there, catch it on NBA League Pass, or use the Fox Sports App (If you’re in Oklahoma).
  • Tonight’s game will be live on ESPN for those not in the Thunder market.

SCOUTING THE PACERS

  • The Indiana Pacers are 16-11 on the season, fifth in the Eastern Conference.
  • Indiana has won four in a row, including a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers last week.
  • in their last game, the Pacers beat the Denver Nuggets 126-116 on Sunday night.
  • The Pacers are 7-3 in their last 10 games and 11-3 in their last 14.
  • Against the Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City is 49-37 all-time.
  • When you factor in games against only with the Thunder, the teams are tied 9-9.
  • Before the Thunder’s win this season, Indiana had won four of the last five against Oklahoma City.
  • The Thunder are looking for their first season sweep since 2012-13.
  • With games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Thunder are 3-6 all-time.
  • Injury Report:
    Darren Collison (knee) is a game-time decision.
    Glen Robinson III (ankle) is out.
    Edmond Sumner (knee) is out.
  • In their first meeting, Indiana was without Myles Turner. He’ll play tonight.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Indiana came on March 2, 2011, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 89-113 (24-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (20 points) vs. Indiana occurred during a 101-121 loss on March 21, 2010.

NEW FACES

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder added a bunch of new faces this year.
  • Paul George was acquired on June 30 for Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo.
  • Carmelo Anthony joins the Thunder after Oklahoma City sent Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a second round pick to the Knicks for Anthony.
  • Oklahoma City also signed Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson via free agency.
  • Terrance Ferguson was drafted in the first round out of Australia.
  • Oklahoma City also added PJ Dozier, undrafted rookie out of South Carolina to a two-way deal.

Injury Report

  • Andre Roberson (ankle) is questionable for tonight’s game.

Next Up

  • Oklahoma City will be on a back-to-back, heading to Philadelphia and New York City on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Oklahoma City then begins a big home stand, four straight, Dec. 18-25. From the Nuggets to the Rockets.
  • Oklahoma City rounds out the month with two on the road and two at home.



Three Keys to the Game

Make shots

Oklahoma City’s offense is toward the bottom of the league and they struggle night in and night out. For Oklahoma City to go into Indianapolis and beat the Pacers, they’re going to need a nice, complete game like they did against Indiana the first time. That starts with Paul George staying out of foul trouble and keeping a level head.

Bench

Oklahoma City’s bench ranks 29th in the NBA in points contributed per game. They’re averaging 23.4 points per game. If Andre Roberson is not able to go, the Thunder will have to find a way to get someone on the bench to step up. They didn’t really step up on Thursday. We’ll see.

Make your free throws

The Thunder are middle of the league in attempts. However, they’re horrible at makes. They’ll make their free throws, this game will be a cake walk. Oklahoma City is 72 percent from the line, 29th in the NBA. Just atrocious.

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There’s no fun in Thunder as Paul George returns to Indiana

Oklahoma City is off to their worst start since the 2014-15 season.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are two games below .500 and set in the ninth spot of the Western Conference, just outside the playoffs. It’s a far cry from where the basketball world thought they would be 26 games into to this season.

Paul George seems to be at a loss in explaining his team’s recent struggles, telling reporters “It’s getting to a point where we can’t allow ourselves to be at this point. We can say we’re going to figure it out, we can say all that, but at some point, it’s gotta stop.”

Gotta stop? How about it’s gotta start? The Thunder have bonafide superstars, stars that supposedly admire and like each other. In the banana boat age, that should be enough to make you more than competitive. However, this group seems to be lacking the critical element that Golden State figured out a long time ago.

Fun.

Kevin Durant expressed on his way out the door that the Warriors love fest was one of the main reasons he left OKC for the left coast.

The Thunder are hitting the road for the next three games starting tonight with Paul George’s homecoming in Indiana. George knows the crowd will treat him to the same reception that greeted KD when he returned to The Peak. What we don’t yet know is to what extent his teammates rally behind him. Carmelo Anthony was quick to point out that picking on George amounts to picking on the Thunder. If that is true, then we might see some life in this team who looks they are grinding towards the end of the season heading into the playoffs.  All of which would be fine, if it wasn’t December.

George says Oklahoma City is enjoying the battles and “everything that brought this team together.” But what really brought this team together? This wasn’t an organic process like Thunder teams before, or even three guys “clouding” the way the Heat did in 2010. It was trading guys like Victor Oladipo, who Billy Donovan touts for the hard work he was putting in during the offseason, and Enes Kanter, who not only produced on the offensive end but was maybe the most likable guy in the locker room.

There is nothing natural about this version of the Thunder, and it shows in the lackluster performances they’ve racked up this season. Despite the schedule not being kind to Oklahoma City,  this road trip can’t come a moment too soon. Maybe George returning to a bloodthirsty Pacer fan base, and Melo returning to Madison Square Garden might give the Thunder something to rally around. If that doesn’t do the trick, then maybe Sam Presti pushes the panic button along with his critics.

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Andre Roberson questionable at Pacers

That often question two-guard out of Colorado may miss a big game Wednesday against the Indiana Pacers.

Andre Roberson is considered questionable for Wednesday night with an ankle sprain. Roberson missed Monday’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets with the same injury.

Roberson sprained his left ankle in the Oklahoma City win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday, Dec. 9. Roberson did go through so post-practice drills on Tuesday afternoon.

According to Erik Horne of the Oklahoman, Roberson’s practice moves were done without a lot of sharp movement. He mostly took set shots and jogged around with black elastic sports tape stretching up his inner left ankle.

Roberson has become of the league’s best perimeter defenders and that was evident in Oklahoma City’s 116-103 loss to Charlotte. The Hornets nailed down 52 percent from deep, including 7-of-10 in the third quarter.

Roberson is averaging a career high 4.8 points on 53.5 percent shooting. The Thunder are  giving up less than 96 points per 100 possessions with Roberson the court.

Since the 2014-15 season, Oklahoma City is 12-19 without Roberson in the line up.

Oklahoma City and Indiana will tip-off at 6 p.m. on ESPN on Wednesday night.

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Here’s why Carmelo Anthony skipped out

Carmelo Anthony skipped out on the media after Oklahoma City’s 116-103 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night. It’s rare for a player to do and to happen after a loss can signal up warning signs from the locker room. However, Anthony set the record straight on Monday at practice.

“I was facetiming with my son,” Anthony said.

Currently, Anthony’s estranged wife La La and his son Kiyan, both are still residing in New York City. So, it’s understandable that Anthony would want to take time when he got a chance, and at a decent hour as New York City is an hour ahead of Oklahoma City, to talk to his son. Especially with it being a school night.

“I skipped out on you guys yesterday, I apologize,” Anthony said.



La La has said Anthony is an incredible dad, saying “they have an incredible bond, and Melo is an incredible dad. They’re always on FaceTime or on the phone planning their next trip.”

Anthony will get a chance to spend time with his son Saturday. Oklahoma City will be in New York to play the Knicks on Saturday night and don’t play again until Monday. They’ll get Sunday off for a back-to-back played on Friday and Saturday. It’s not impossible to think Anthony will stay in New York City on Saturday night to spend time with his family.

In his first season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Anthony is averaging 18.0 points and 6.4 rebounds in 32 minutes per game.

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Paul George expects Pacer fans to boo

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Paul George are returning to Indiana for the annual trip to the Hoosier State. The big different this time is Paul George returning to Banker’s Life Fieldhouse for the first time as an opponent.

On Tuesday at practice, George said he expected boos when asked what his expectations are for returning to Indiana for the first time since being traded.

“Boos,” George said. “I honestly wouldn’t expect it to be any other way.”

George was traded on June 30 to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. The Thunder won the first meeting in Oklahoma City handedly but on the road it may be a different atmosphere for the Thunder and George.

“The Pacers fans outweigh the Paul George fans,” George said.



For George, he’s looking forward to being the villain in his former home. George told the Pacers front office he wasn’t re-signing with the organization in mid-June. It only took two weeks for the Pacers to trade George.

“It’s for whatever reason I’ll be booed but I’m going to embrace it,” George said. “I’m gonna thrive on that and it’ll give me energy to play better.”

Oklahoma City and Indiana will tip-off at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 13 at Banker’s Lifefield house. The game will be televised live on ESPN.

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Not time to panic… yet

Alarms are going off, but not time to panic yet

While most of the time we don’t write these sunshine pumping pieces saying HOLD ON. YOU CAN DO IT. I do want to point out that it may not be time to panic… yet.

When I say yet, I mean, despite being approximately 30 percent through the season, the Thunder are only 3½ games out of fourth place in the Western Conference. That’s really a short win streak and the Thunder are back in it.

A couple of things I look at when I’m sitting here trying to think of why I should tell you not to panic and the first thing I immediately think of is injury. Sure, they’re inevitable. Unless you’re super lucky (see Thunder’s run to the finals), you’re going to have players get hurt. However, with the what happened this week, two of the three losses this week were with starters out. The Thunder definitely missed George in the loss to the Nets. Against Charlotte, the best perimeter defender on the team was hurt and it led to the Hornets making 52 percent of their threes.


If the Thunder are fully healthy, those games probably flip the script and Oklahoma City is sitting above .500 and fifth in the West. That’s how close things are right now in the Western Conference.

The offense sucks but you still have Russell Westbrook. He’s starting to revert to “Let Westbrook be Westbrook” form. However, he’s still not up to his old speed. He’s career low numbers and those are turning around. While they’re not pretty by any stretch of the imagination, the reigning MVP winner will figure this out and throw out a couple straight weeks of spectacular play that will remind everyone of why he’s that good and why he won the award last season.

At this point, some of the issues have to be mental. We’re seeing frustrations come out through Carmelo Anthony leaving before press availability last night. We’re seeing Westbrook revert back to short, curt answers. At least this is showing they care in some ways. While Paul George says this isn’t the team they should be because of all the talent, the Thunder know if they don’t fix things, the season will go down the toilet.

However, this team really just needs a confidence booster. A big win over someone once again. If the Thunder can head into Monday’s game with the Denver Nuggets on a three-game win streak, all of these issues will seem as if it was a distant nightmare.

If they go into Denver 1-2 or heaven forbid, a three-game losing streak, it’ll be time to press that panic button and figure out some drastic moves.

There are 11 games remaining until 2018. The most important 11 games in recent history. Oklahoma City has to find some momentum, going 8-3, 7-4 or a preferable 9-2 over that stretch. Of those 11 games, seven are at the Peake. Three against divisional foes and one against the Rockets. The rest should find Oklahoma City to be heavily favored in. There are some –should be– gimme wins from Atlanta and Denver in Oklahoma City.

11 games. Find away. Fix this season. Save someone’s job.

Is it time to panic?

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Third quarter, Hornets beat the Thunder

In one fleeting moment, Russell Westbrook dunked on the head of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the Thunder were tied up with the Charlotte Hornets. However, minuets later, the Thunder were eyeballing a double-digit deficit, not able to look back.

Charlotte used a 40-point third quarter to blow out the Oklahoma City Thunder 116-103 on Monday night.

Oklahoma City now has lost three straight games to the Hornets, all by double digits.

“For the talent we have, this isn’t where we want to be,” Paul George said.

Charlotte was relatively in control all evening long, nailing threes and moving the ball well. The Thunder really had no answer with the team’s best defender, Andre Roberson, out with an ankle injury. Charlotte shot 7-of-10 from three-point range in the third quarter, leading to an 18-point advantage in the quarter alone.

“Certainly that quarter was not indicative of who we have been,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said.

All-in-all, Charlotte went on a 22-2 run over the final, essentially six minutes of the third quarter.

Charlotte had six players in double figures and seven with at least eight points. Dwight Howard led the Hornets with 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting.

“What’s crazy, as this may sound, I really, really, really was excited about the way we played offense tonight,” Donovan said. “I really was.”



Oklahoma City (12-14)played the catch up game early and often. It started as the Hornets went up 19-7 with 7:15 remaining in the first quarter. While the Thunder made a run to get back into it, the Hornets did enough to keep the Thunder at bay.

Before tonight’s game, Charlotte (10-16) had lost eight straight road games and were 1-10 on the road.

Westbrook would power Oklahoma City to a 46-43 lead late in the second quarter,but a 9-6 close out for the Hornets saw a tied halftime score at 52-all.

Westbrook threw down a monster dunk on the head of Kidd-Gilchrist, tying the game up at 66-66 with 5:56 left in the third quarter and then all hell broke loose.

Mo Williams drained a three-pointer. Kidd-Gilchrist hit the jumper and then Alex Abrines fouled back-to-back three-point shooters. The next thing you know, the Hornets were on a 13-0 run. The lead ballooned to as many as 20 in the contest.

“I feel like our guys always put forth a good effort,” Donovan said. “For me, there’s times when it’s not going well, you kinda gotta raise up the energy.”

Of course Oklahoma City made a run, cutting it to 11 but that was really false hope. Charlotte pushed it out to a 15-point lead with two minutes to go in the game, icing any real Thunder come back.

Westbrook led Oklahoma City with 30 points on 10-of-22 shooting. He was only 1-of-2 from three, which is signficantly lower than what he shot, in terms of attempts, compared to Sunday night’s game.

Oklahoma City will now go back on the road and play three games in four nights. They’ll be in Indiana on Wednesday night night. Then, they’ll play at Philadelphia on Friday and at New York on Saturday.

Keys to the Game

Jeremy Lamb: F

Jeremy Lamb was a game best plus-20. He was solid on the defensive side and hit big shots when the Hornets needed it. While his efficiency is lacking, as it always will, he was there for the Hornets tonight.

Bench: F

The bench only scored 19 points tonight. They were 6-of-22 from the floor. While Raymond Felton had been pretty solid all season long, he struggled tonight. Felton shot only 1-of-10 tonight from the floor, nailing a three. Bench has to be better.

Free throws: A+

Oklahoma City shot their best at the line tonight. Their lone miss came in the second quarter as Steven Adams rattled a ball in and out. The Thunder made 24-of-25 shots at the free throw line tonight. This should be a staple for the Thunder. Look at Westbrook who went 9-of-9 at the line tonight.

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Thunder Game Day No. 26: vs. Charlotte Hornets

Oklahoma City Thunder (12-13, 9-3 home) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (9-16, 1-10 away)

Monday, Dec. 11 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)

Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27) | 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 7-point favorite. The over/under is 206.
Online Stream: Fox Sports Go | WWLS Sports AnimalLive Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Hornets: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder goes for their five win in six tries as they host the Charlotte Hornets.
  • Despite how much we love Kemba Walker, the Charlotte Hornets aren’t very good. They’re 1-10 away from the Spectrum Center. They’ve lost back-to-back games against Chicago and the Lakers.
  • In their last 10 games, the Hornets are only 3-7, including losing eight straight road games since beating Memphis on Oct. 30.
  • Last season, the Charlotte Hornets swept the Thunder, ending the Thunder’s 11-game win streak over the Hornets.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Brian Davis and Michael Cage call the game on the Thunder’s flagship station, Fox Sports Oklahoma. You can watch the game there, catch it on NBA League Pass, or use the Fox Sports App (If you’re in Oklahoma).

SCOUTING THE HORNETS

  • The Charlotte Hornets are 9-16 on the season, 13th in the Eastern Conference.
  • In their last 10 games, the Hornets are 3-7.
  • When away from the Spectrum Center, Charlotte is 1-10, losing eight straight since Oct. 30.
  • In their last game, the Hornets lost to Lakers by double-digits, 110-99.
  • All-time, Oklahoma City is 36-17 against Charlotte.
  • When you break it down between Hornets and Bobcats, the Thunder are 4-2 against the Hornets and 9-2 against the Bobcats.
  • Last season, the Charlotte Hornets swept the Thunder, winning both games by double digits.
  • When in Bricktown, the Thunder are 8-1 all-time against Charlotte, with their first ever loss coming last season.
  • Oklahoma City is 11-2 in their last 13 games against the Hornets.
  • Injury report:
    Nicolas Batum (elbow) is out.
    Cody Zeller (knee) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Charlotte came on Nov. 26, 2012, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 114-69 (45-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (12 points) vs. Charlotte occurred during a 101-113 loss on April 2, 2017.

NEW FACES

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder added a bunch of new faces this year.
  • Paul George was acquired on June 30 for Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo.
  • Carmelo Anthony joins the Thunder after Oklahoma City sent Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a second round pick to the Knicks for Anthony.
  • Oklahoma City also signed Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson via free agency.
  • Terrance Ferguson was drafted in the first round out of Australia.
  • Oklahoma City also added PJ Dozier, undrafted rookie out of South Carolina to a two-way deal.

Injury Report

  • Paul George (right calf contusion) is a game-time decision.

Next Up

  • The Thunder will travel to Indiana on Wednesday for Paul George’s return to Indiana (maybe if he’s healthy).
  • Oklahoma City then has back-to-back against the 76ers on Friday night and the Knicks, with Carmelo Anthony’s return to New York City, on Saturday night.



Three Keys to the Game

Jeremy Lamb

This might be Paul George or Andre Roberson’s call. The Hornets are 1-9 when Jeremy Lamb scores 15 points or less. Lamb has only done it once over the last seven games. That explains how Charlotte is 1-6 over that span. Let’s see how he fairs tonight.

Bench

Oklahoma City’s bench ranks 29th in the NBA in points contributed per game. They’re averaging 23.4 points per game. If Paul George is not able to go, the Thunder will have to find a way to get someone on the bench to step up. They didn’t really step up on Thursday. We’ll see.

Make your free throws

The Thunder are middle of the league in attempts. However, they’re horrible at makes. They’ll make their free throws, this game will be a cake walk. Oklahoma City is 72 percent from the line, 29th in the NBA. Just atrocious.

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