Game Day #55: Thunder at Pacers

Oklahoma City Thunder (40-14, 17-9 road) at Indiana Pacers (33-21, 17-7 home


Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse – Indianapolis, IN
When: 6:00 p.m. CST
  FSOK (DirectTV 679, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27, U-Verse 754)
Online Stream: Here.
Radio: WWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Projected Lineups:

Thunder Pacers
PG Russell Westbrook Darren Collison
SG Thabo Sefolosha Paul George
SF Kevin Durant Danny Granger
PF Serge Ibaka David West
C Kendrick Perkins Roy Hibbert
6th Man James Harden Tyler Hansbrough

Last time: The Thunder beat Indian 113-89 in Oklahoma City. OKC beat the Pacers 110-106 in OT last time in Indiana.

OKC is coming off a bit of a sluggish loss to the Miami Heat. However, that game is over and onto the Indiana Pacers who are on a three game winning streak coming into this game.

Indiana is the last in a ten game gauntlet for Oklahoma City and it’s a great way to end the test.  Indiana won’t be a pushover. As I’ve said, they’re on a three game win streak and they’re decent at home.  Indiana has won three straight games at home, including a 105-90 win over the Miami Heat.

Indiana is led by Danny Granger. Granger leads the Pacers in scoring with 18.4 points per game. Then the Pacers bring Darren Collison at the point. He led the Hornets while Chris Paul was injured a couple of seasons ago. He did such a great job, Hornets were forced to deal him to the Pacers. He’s done nothing but impress while he’s been in Indianapolis. He has almost a 3-to-1 assist to turnover ratio.

Also, they have Paul George and Roy Hibbert. One thing about the Pacers, they’re very young and they come at you with so many different people. Indiana has seven players averaging nine or more points per game.

Quick note about this game: Oklahoma City can clinch the Northwest Division with a win or a Denver loss.

Keys to the game

Shoot Efficiently
The Pacers are a top 10 defense in field goal percentage. Oklahoma City really needs to penetrate and get to the rim and get high quality shots. Especially against this solid defensive unit. One thing going for Oklahoma City is that Indiana is in the lower half of the leauge in three-point defense. Not much, just ranking at 16th.

Block out
With Roy Hibbert, David West and Tyler Hansbrough, Indiana is a very good rebounding team. They rank in the top 10 in overall rebounding and offensive rebounding. Oklahoma City cannot let this team get extra shots and points off offensive rebounding. That also brings us to our next points…

Even Shots
Oklahoma city ranks 29th of 30 teams in field goal attempt differential.  It’s something the Thunder need to limit if they’re going to win this game. This accounts for the rebounding and limit the turnovers. The Turnovers really have hurt them in the last two games. Must, I repeat MUST limit the extra shots. Miami and Memphis combined for 17 extra shots in the two wins over Okahoma City.

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