Indiana Pacers (32-44, 10-29 road) vs. Thunder (21-54, 14-24 home)
TV: KSBI (Cox 15)
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM)
Time: 6:00 CST
Offensive Rating: Thunder: 103.0 (29th), Indiana: 107.3 (20th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder: 109.5 (20th), Indiana: 109.2 (19th)
Pace:Thunder: 93.4 (8th), Indiana: 96.3 (3rd)
Can I just take a moment to say, what the crap weather? Snow last weekend, then sunny with highs of 75 through the week and now back to low 40s and 200 mile per hour wind. Oh yeah, I live in Oklahoma. Nevermind.
For tonight’s game against Indiana, I’m really expecting a solid effort. After Friday, ahem, “poor” performance against Portland, I think this team comes out with a lot of fire tonight. They may only have 21 wins, but they have an awful lot of pride. In fact, in games OKC lost by 20 more (under Scott Brooks) the Thunder’s 0-4 in the following game with a pair of two point losses and overtime loss. So while that’s not exactly an encouraging bit of information, it does say that the team doesn’t really sulk and get their rears handed to them on consecutive nights.
Brooks hinted that D.J. White may see action for the first time tonight. I’m really anxious to see what he adds. I don’t expect big minutes or big production, but I’m looking forward to at least getting a look at him. At Indiana he was a terrific low post scorer and physical rebounder – something OKC really needs. (Kind of ironic he makes his debut in the NBA against Indiana, huh?)
Also, remember that awesome (sarcasm) shooting performance against the Blazers? Hopefully the Thunder’s got the lid of the basket! Heyyyy!!! Kevin Durant went 4-13 from the field for just 13 points Friday which is something he doesn’t do very often. And last time I mentioned that he was having some poor shooting nights, he came back with 31 on 12-19 against the Spurs. So let’s hope for another Royce Bump for KD’s shooting stroke tonight.
Obviously the Pacers game revolves around Danny Granger (averaging 32 ppg over his last four), but Troy Murphy isn’t a guy you can sleep on. He’s Raef Lafrentz before Raef Lafrentz started sucking. He’s a big that can hit threes, score in the post and rebound. In fact, Murphy’s got 45 double-doubles this season which second best in Pacer history. T.J. Ford lit OKC up the last (and only) time these teams played with 24 points and 10 assists and was really the difference in the Pacers win. Also, Brandon Rush has come on strong lately averaging 23 ppg over his last three including back-to-back 29 point games.
The Pacers play quick as they’re third in the league in pace as Ford loves to push and Granger is lethal from the wing on runouts. Marquis Daniels is a good “flow” player who can slash and score in bursts. He’s also a quality defender that will likely see a lot of time on Durant. But again, I expect OKC to play with a little chip tonight. At least you’d hope so after the butt roasting they took Friday night.
Tip is at 6:00 CST. Go D.J. White.