TV: NBA TV (Cox 256, HD 726); FS Oklahoma (Cox 37, Tulsa Cox 27, HD 722; DirectTV 679, AT&T U-Verse 753)
Stream: Click Here
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 97.1 FM Tulsa)
Time: 7:00 CST
View from the enemy: Forum Blue and Gold
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 101.1 (20th), Lakers – 102.3 (19th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 96.6 (5th), Lakers – 101.9 (9th)
Pace: Thunder – 88.0 (28th), Lakers – 96.8 (4th)
Here is crack No. 2 at making a statement. I thought before the season that starting 1-3 was likely, 2-2 would be very nice and anything above that would be excellent. So now we’ve got the chance to be excellent. The thing is, you tell me before the season the Thunder will be 2-2 through the first four and I’d have been happy. But now that OKC has the chance to do more because it won the first two, I’ll feel strangely disappointed. Weird how that happens.
Kobe Bryant is listed as questionable with a sore throat for the game, but Phil Jackson said Kobe normally plays through this stuff. So we’re going to assume he’s going. However, Pau Gasol is still out for the Lakers.
Two matchups are the main events of the evening: Thabo vs. Kobe and Kevin Durant vs. Ron Artest. KD said Artest would be his “nightmare defender” last year at the All-Star break. Artest plays physical, doesn’t let you run off screens easily and is going to do everything he can to frustrate you. And honestly, Thabo might be Kobe’s nightmare defender. You don’t see very often what Thabo did to Kobe last year when Sefolosha blocked the Mamba not once, but twice. These are the marquee matchups and probably where the game will kind of swing from
Another large duel will be Lamar Odom against Jeff Green. Green has played pretty well thus far this year, and has done much better on the block against other good fours. But Odom abused Green a couple times last year. Odom is a tough match for Green because Odom is really a similar player to Uncle Jeff. But Odom is a bit more physical and a better rebounder. The biggest edge OKC has is at point guard. Russell Westbrook should be able to run around Derek Fisher and create for the Thunder. At least, that’s what the Thunder’s got to bank on.
You’ve got to think Durant will play better. Got to. I mean, you can’t play much worse I suppose. The Ford Center will be excited and I think the Thunder senses games like this as a chance to catch attention. They played very hard against Portland but just didn’t have anything offensively. The Lakers are better and if you shoot 34 percent you WILL lose by 20 tonight. But play the defense you did against Portland combined with a little offense and a good game from your star and well, you might lose by 10 but you’ll likely have at least a chance in the fourth. Which is all you want in these types of games.
Tip at 7:00 CST. Go better offense. Please.