Thunder (6-game winning streak)
106.2 Offensive Efficiency (2nd)
99.0 Defensive Efficiency (13th)
96.1 Pace (5th)
56.8 True Shooting % (2nd)
51.6 Rebound Rate (5th)
Magic (1-game winning streak)
101.5 Offensive Efficiency (12th)
98.5 Defensive Efficiency (12th)
91.4 Pace (29th)
53.1 True Shooting % (8th)
50.7 Rebound Rate (12th)
The Oklahoma City Thunder passed a tough test last night in Philadelphia and now send their All-Stars and rest of team back to Orlando tonight to deal with Dwight Howard’s Magic.
The Thunder are on a six-game winning streak dating back to before the All-Star Break and are really beginning to look like the team to beat in the Western Conference.
Orlando has had a weird season with all of the Howard leaving talk and have still been successful overall. That just goes to show the value of Dwight Howard.
Howard is giving the Magic 20-15 basically but noticeably isn’t giving 100 percent effort level and it’s not totally his fault. The Magic have traditionally been one of the most efficient defenses in the league behind Howard however find themselves closer to the middle of the pack this season.
Howard’s greatest strength of course is deterring penetration and the Thunder rely mostly on jump shots and the fast break to produce the best on offense.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will need to be on point with their jumpers tonight to give Oklahoma City the best chance to win. Westbrook was off last night but played great defense and crashed the glass on offense to help the Thunder win.
Durant scored 30 points on Christmas Day the first time these teams played this season while Westbrook struggled with only 14 and 6-of-17 shooting.
James Harden had 19 in that game and got to the line 12 times as the Thunder bench had a big advantage while in the game versus Orlando that night.
Howard went for only 11 points in the game but Ryan Anderson was hot with six three-pointers and a 25-10 stat line.
Defending the three-point line is always an obvious point of emphasis when playing the Magic and the Thunder are pretty good at doing it.
As long as Oklahoma City limits offensive rebounds and gets out on the fast break then they should have the upper hand tonight. It would be the seventh straight win for Oklahoma City and slipping up in Orlando on a back-to-back might be a likely setback for this team.