OKC Thunder (29-7, 14-6 road) at Atlanta Hawks (21-15, 11-6 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 109.0 (2nd), Hawks– 101.5 (22nd)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.3 (13th), Hawks – 99.6 (5th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.4 (6th), Hawks – 90.3 (20th)
View from the enemy: Hoopinion
The mini road trip is already a success. Two wins was sort of the bar, and the Thunder already achieved that with great wins in Philly and Orlando. Still, doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be disappointing if they didn’t show up tonight in Atlanta. A 2-1 trip meets expectations. A 3-0 trip is just another strong statement of how good and focused this group is.
UPDATE: Russell Westbrook will play tonight.
Atlanta coming in: The Hawks are 1-1 after the break last playing Friday, beating Milwaukee.
Three Big Things
1. Westbrook, or no? Officially, Russell Westbrook is listed a game-time decision. That left ankle roll was pretty rough and it wouldn’t surprise me if he missed his first game ever. If he does, it’s really a little up in the air if it’s Reggie Jackson or Royal Ivey in his place. I think Scott Brooks would go with Jackson and manage minutes around point guard with him, James Harden and Ivey, but it’s definitely a situation Brooks hasn’t had to deal with, well, ever.
2. Josh Smith. He’s a problem. Both on the glass and defensively, Smith is an extremely tough matchup. We’ll probably see Scott Brooks go small with Durant on him some, we’ll probably see Ibaka on him some. It’s probably the most important matchup for OKC.
3. KD. The Hawks will likely start Marvin Williams on Durant, but after that, there aren’t very many good options for them in checking the league’s best scorer. Jerry Stackhouse? Willie Green? Josh Smith? Tracy McGrady? Westbrook or not, KD could be in for a big night.
Tip at 6:00 CT. Go Ankles.