Bobcats (27-31, 12-17 road) vs. Thunder (44-15, 24-6 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 109.8 (6th), Bobcats – 101.4 (27th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.2 (6th), Bobcats – 103.2 (5th)
Pace: Thunder – 95.2 (11th), Bobcats – 93.0 (20th)
The Bobcats are scrappy, defensive and pretty competitive. But there’s no way they should beat the Thunder tonight.
That’s really all you need to know here.
OK, there’s this too: The Bobcats are actually fairly decent. Al Jefferson is a problem, and with Perk out tonight, the Thunder could have pretty big troubles in handling him. Perk has always defended Jefferson well, but the duty will fall on Steven Adams and Nick Collison primarily to push him off the block tonight. The Bobcats can make it tough on you to score, and if they’re getting consistent halfcourt buckets, they get tough.
So this isn’t a given. The Thunder need to play at least moderately well to win.
Three Big Things
1. Defense. The Bobcats are one of the most inept offensive teams in the league. The Thunder played pretty solid defense for two and a half quarters against the Grizzlies, but could feel much better about themselves after playing Charlotte tonight. Unless the Bobcats drop 105 on them, then something is really wrong.
2. Starting 2. With Thabo out, who starts? With Caron Butler not active until Tuesday’s game, I expect it to be Andre Roberson since the Thunder wouldn’t be adding an extra body to the rotation. But if Thabo is expected to be out for a while, Brooks might want to get a feel for a new starting five.
3. Don’t come. The roads in Oklahoma are awful right now, and it’s likely only going to get worse. The Thunder are playing the Bobcats. It’s not worth it.
Tip at 6:00 CT. Go Safe Travels.