OKC Thunder (15-8, 8-4 road) at NBA Hornets (14-7, 9-2 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 108.4 (11th), Hornets – 104.8 (21st)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 108.4 (17th), Hornets – 101.4 (4th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.2 (12th), Hornets – 90.5 (26th)
View from the enemy: Hornets 24/7
UPDATE: Nenad Krstic has a lower back strain and is out. Serge Ibaka will start.
If you have any clue as to what to expect with this Thunder team, then a tip of the hat to you. Because I’ve been thinking about this game all afternoon and I can’t decide if I feel good or absolutely horrible about it.
The Hornets have been sliding some since the last time OKC played them, but they still have Chris Paul, still have David West and still play good defense. Their problem has become the offense, where they struggle to score for long stretches at times.
New Orleans coming in: After going through a rough patch, the Hornets have split their last four. They last played Wednesday, beating Detroit at home.
Again, the prime matchup is Russell Westbrook against Chris Paul. They sort of split the first 42 minutes of the first meeting, but Westbrook got the best of CP3 down the stretch. So I’m sure Paul will have than on his mind in this one.
We know about Trevor Ariza’s defense and his ability to get a hand up on Kevin Durant’s shot. But I feel like KD is starting to settle in to that mode where nobody can really stop him. For some reason, I’m feeling big things from him tonight.
David West has his way normally against Jeff Green and Scott Brooks doesn’t have the element of surprise to use this time in sticking Durant on him. Serge Ibaka will be key inside on West and Emeka Okafor in limiting easy looks for the Hornets.
Obviously a tough road game but one that’s winnable. The Hornets are really good at home though. Should be a fun one.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Thunder Thunder THUNDER!