OKC Thunder (13-4, 4-2 road) at New Orleans Hornets (4-10, 2-5 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 112.5 (2nd), Hornets– 104.3 (14th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.7 (9th), Hornets – 110.7 (30th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.6 (12th), Hornets – 88.6 (29th)
View from the enemy: Hornets 24/7
The Hornets were one of the better defensive teams in the league early this season. And then they played the Thunder two weeks ago. The Thunder rolled up the Hornets 110-95 and kickstarted both New Orleans’ downfall as a top defensive team and OKC’s roll of eight straight games with 100+.
The Hornets were completely overmatched that night and with the momentum the Thunder have going right now, you’d think they’d take a similar mindset down there tonight. Then again, the Thunder are coming off a pretty tough battle the night before and are due for a bit of a letdown performance. I don’t think this one will be as easy as the previous one.
New Orleans coming in: The Hornets are well rested having last played Wednesday, losing to the Jazz.
Three Big Things
1. No Brow. Anthony Davis is still out and while he wasn’t a major factor in the first meeting, he’s probably the Hornets’ best player. It changes the Thunder’s matchups a bit as it brings Ryan Anderson into the starting five, a stretch 4 and a tougher cover for Serge Ibaka. Ibaka has had issues in the past chasing perimeter oriented players around, so it’s potentially dangerous.
2. Greiving. Maybe the Hornets best player right now is Greivis Vasquez. He has a little history with the Thunder for hitting this shot. He’s a really mouthy, cocky kind of player, but right now, he’s got the game to back it up. Prepare yourself to say, “Man, I hate Greivis Vasquez” roughly 25 times tonight.
3. Pacing. The Hornets play slow and they’re going to want to keep the Thunder’s tempo in check. Limit transition and try and turn this thing to a grind. Like I said, there could be some heavy legs for OKC and it has the apparent setup for a letdown. Easy buckets on the run could ease some of that.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Scorers.