Ok. City Thunder (44-28, 20-15 road) at Philadephia 76ers (26-47, 12-24 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 107.3 (15th), 76ers – 105.5 (20th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.5 (6th), 76ers – 109.3 (19th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.8 (14th), 76ers – 91.5 (22nd)
View from the enemy: Philadunkia
We all remember what happened in Indiana two weeks ago. The Thunder was flat, unfocused and unready. Well, here’s another chance at a game like that. Let’s hope that Pacer game was a lesson learned.
Because if OKC doesn’t, this road trip could get a little ugly. First Philly tonight. Then Boston Wednesday. And then wrapping up in Dallas Friday. Tonight’s game is the must-win of the bunch because the two that finish it won’t be easy. Honestly, 1-2 would be a quality trip, especially with the way Boston is playing.
Philadelphia coming in: The 76ers are probably playing some of their basketball of the season right now. They pulled off two big wins against Milwaukee and Atlanta, most recently beating the Hawks on Friday. However, they are just 12-24 at home.
Jason Kapono has been starting the past few games at small forward for Philly. Kevin Durant plays small forward for the Thunder. I think you should be able to put two and two together here. KD could be in store for a big time game. Andre Iguodala is a quality scorer at shooting guard who could also see time on KD, but as far as Iguodala’s scoring, hopefully Thabo busts out the lock down on him.
Jrue Holiday has been playing better, but Russell Westbrook should handle the UCLA rookie tonight. Elton Brand isn’t what he used to be, so I actually like Jeff Green, matching up inside with him. Brand is still good for a 20-15 game every now and again, but those are few and far between now. Marreese Speights is a big body on the block that can rebound and block shots and Samuel Dalembert is virtually the same player. OKC’s trio of Nick Collison, Serge Ibaka and Nenad Krstic will have their hands full with the interior game of the 76ers tonight.
The Sixers don’t get a bunch of scoring from their second unit, but then again, unless James Harden is producing, neither does Oklahoma City. Harden needs to get bakc on track for the Thunder and add that punch off the bench. As we know, that’s a pretty important aspect of the Thunder offense.
For whatever reason, these type of games just terrify me. It’s a should-win, on the road against a fairly bad team. Yet, I worry. But if all goes as it should and OKC comes out with a good focus (which I expect they will after the Portland loss), this shouldn’t be an issue. The matchups favor the Thunder almost across the board and last time they played Philly, OKC overwhelmed them. So hopefully it’s more of the same this evening.
Tip at 6:00 CDT. Go Sound That Comes After Lightning.