Charlotte Bobcats (35-43, 12-25 road) vs. Thunder (21-57, 14-26 home)
TV: FS Oklahoma HD (Cox 37, HD 722)
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM)
Time: 7:00 CST
Offensive Rating: Thunder: 103.0 (29th), Charlotte: 105.1 (27th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder: 109.8 (20th), Charlotte: 106.0 (7th)
Pace:Thunder: 93.5 (8th), Charlotte: 88.3 (27th)
You know a good way to close out a home season? With a win. Call me crazy, but that’s what I’d like to see.
Especially because this is arguably OKC’s best remaining chance to win. After this game the Thunder hits the road for three against Milwaukee, Portland and the Clippers. And OKC’s 7-30 on the road. So if you don’t win tonight, you could be looking at ending the season on an eight-game losing streak with losses in 13 of the last 15. Oh, and also closing out with seven straight losses at home. I’m not really a fan of that.
But the Bobcats have a lot to play for tonight. They are scratching and clawing (get it?) to get into the playoffs. They are three games back of Detroit for the eighth spot, but in order to get there, they’re going to have to win on the road. And Charlotte is not so good away from home. They’re 12-25 on the road and have lost five of seven. A loss tonight could all but kill the Bobcats so you can expect them to come out with fire and intensity.
The last (and only) meeting back on Dec. 3, the Bobcats won 103-97 in a game that was tight throughout. No quarter was separated by more than three points. Emeka Okafor was dominant with 25 and 13 as OKC really had no answer. But that was pre-Nenad Krstic! Well, alright, but still. In that game, nine guys from OKC played and five of those are either not with the team anymore or haven’t played in a month. The Bobcats had Jason Richardson that night, but now have Boris Diaw, Raja Bell and Vlad Radmonovich. So it’s kind of a whole new game. The Thunder shot 54 percent in that game, but were outrebounded by 11, missed 10 free throws and turned it over 18 times. OKC’s had a little bit of a hold on the turnovers lately and have rebounded the last couple months extremely well.
Gerald Wallace vs. Kevin Durant is an interesting matchup because they’re both long, athletic and can score from everywhere. Wallace prefers to drive rather than shoot and KD is the opposite. Wallace scored 21 last time and KD had 24 on 9-12 shooting. I think we could actually see Thabo see some time on Wallace. Wallace leads the team in scoring at almost 19 a game, but they have six guys that score in double-figures. That’s pretty good distribution.
Tip at 7:00 CST and evidently fans ae supposed to wear blue as some kind of sendoff or something. Whatever. Go Blue.