Oklahoma City Thunder (40-29, 16-18 away)

at

Atlanta Hawks (20-47, 15-20 home)

Tuesday, March 13 :: 6:30 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)
TV Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 6-point favorite. The over/under is 224.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Hawks: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder knocked off the Sacramento Kings on Monday night and now travel to downtown Atlanta to take on the hapless Atlanta Hawks.
  • The Thunder are 11 games over .500 for the first time this season.
  • Oklahoma City beat the Atlanta Hawks 120-117 on Dec. 22 on a last second Russell Westbrook three-pointer.
  • The Atlanta Hawks are flailing and flailing bad. They’ve lost three straight and are 2-8 in their last 10 games.
  • The Thunder are going for their first sweep of the Hawks since 2013-14.

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 HAWKS

  • The Atlanta Hawks are 20-47 on the season, last place in the Eastern Conference.
  • In their last 10 games, the Hawks are 2-8.
  • Atlanta has lost three straight.
  • The Hawks lost their previous game to the Chicago Bulls 129-11 on Sunday, March 11.
  • All-time against the Hawks, Oklahoma City is 65-66.
  • Since the relocation, Oklahoma City is 11-5 against Atlanta.
  • When the Thunder are playing in Atlanta, Oklahoma City is only 5-4.
  • Oklahoma City is 3-3 in their last six games in Atlanta.
  • Previously this season, the Thunder beat the Hawks 120-117 on Dec. 22 in Oklahoma City.
  • Oklahoma City hasn’t swept the Hawks since the 2013-14 season.
  • INJURY REPORT:
    Kent Bazemore (knee) is out.
    DeAndre’ Bembry (Abdomen) is out.
    Tyler Cavanaugh (ankle) is a game-time decision.
    Antonious Cleveland (ankle) is out. Malcom Delaney (ankle) is out.
    Jaylen Morris is out (ankle) is out.
    Dennis Schroder (elbow) is a game-time decision.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Atlanta is 13 points which occurred on Dec. 10, 2015.
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (11 points) vs. Atlanta occurred during an 99-88 loss on Dec. 23, 2008.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out for the season.
  • Steven Adams (hip contusion) is questionable.

NEXT UP

  • Oklahoma City hosts the LA Clippers on Friday night and then travels to Toronto Sunday afternoon.
  • After that, the Thunder Boston and Miami to round out the week.

WHAT’S IN A HAWKS NAME

  • In 1948, the cities of Moline and Rock Island, Illinois and and Davenport, Iowa—collectively known as the Tri-Cities at the time—were awarded a team in the National Basketball League.
  • The team was nicknamed the Blackhawks, who, like Chicago’s hockey team, were named after the Sauk Indian Chief Black Hawk.
  • When the team moved to Milwaukee in 1951, the nickname was shortened to Hawks.
  • The franchise retained the shortened moniker for subsequent moves to St. Louis and finally Atlanta in 1968.



Three Keys to the Game

Moving the ball

The Thunder and in particular Russell Westbrook need to keep the ball moving and make sure everyone stays in the game. When Westbrook has 10 or more assists the Thunder have a record of 24-11 when he has under 10 assists they are 16-18. The Thunder must move the ball in order to be successful Westbrook has to set the tone early in moving the ball and carry it throughout the game.

Be aggressive on defense

The Thunder need to be active and aggressive on defense. When the Thunder are locked in mentally on defense they are elite with Paul George and Russell Westbrook looking like elite cornerbacks. They’re  looking for opportunities to create deflections and steals. Steven Adams is protecting the paint. The Thunder’s offense is lethal on the fast break with Westbrook putting opponents on their heels and George and Anthony running right behind him for the trailer three.

Simply show up

They simply need to show up with the same mentality they do when they play the elite teams like the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, and Cleveland Cavaliers. This season the Thunder have a record of 22-10 against teams with sub-.500 records they simply don’t show up with the same intensity or determination as they do when they face the top tier competition. This upcoming game against the Atlanta Hawks s is an important game for the Thunder, something Carmelo Anthony understands. Must beat those dot dot dot teams.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.