Indiana Pacers (27-32, 10-18 road) vs. OKC Thunder (36-22, 20-9 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 110.73(6th), Pacers– 105.0 (23rd)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 108.2 (16th), Pacers – 105.0 (11th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.9 (12th), Pacers – 94.6 (5th)
View from the enemy: Eight Points, Nine Seconds
Finally, a not excellent team plays the Thunder. A chance to get back on the winning side of things. And also a chance to officially meet one of the new guys, as Nazr Mohammed will start at center for Oklahoma City.
The Pacers though, aren’t bad. They’re currently an Eastern playoff team and under interim coach Frank Vogel, have found a new level of excitement and have scored at least 100 points in every game but one under him.
Indiana coming in: The Pacers have been playing well lately, winning last night against the Warriors. They’ve won six of their last 10.
Again, under Vogel, Indy’s players are finally producing again. Roy Hibbert is back to being a good inside force, Darren Collison is making plays and even Tyler Hansbrough has become a serviceable power forward.
But the Thunder matches up well pretty much across the board with the Pacers. Another night where it’d be cool to have Kendrick Perkins, but having Nazr Mohammed to defend Hibbert instead of Collison is a plus. And then of course having Serge Ibaka as part of that starting unit and a guy that’s going to get 30 minutes is big.
Danny Granger will be the focus of the Pacer offense, so the matchup between him and Kevin Durant will be a key. KD has struggled a bit the past two games, so getting on track again is important.
The Thunder really needs to win this game and it’s not going to be as easy as you might think. The Pacers are a team playing with confidence, but more importantly, for a purpose. OKC can’t afford to slip here and give the fanbase a big reason to freak out. Get back on track and with the next couple weeks being a bit lighter, the Thunder should have a chance to stock up on some wins.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Winning.