Thunder (7-game winning streak)
106.5 Offensive Efficiency (2nd)
99.2 Defensive Efficiency (13th)
96.0 Pace (6th)
56.9 True Shooting % (2nd)
51.5 Rebound Rate (5th)
Hawks (1-game winning streak)
99.0 Offensive Efficiency (20th)
96.9 Defensive Efficiency (5th)
92.3 Pace (23rd)
51.6 True Shooting % (19th)
49.3 Rebound Rate (21st)
The Oklahoma City Thunder have no reeled off seven wins in a row and have the best record in the NBA with the Miami Heat losing last night. Tonight they stay on the road in Atlanta to play a solid defensive team that can come close to matching Oklahoma City’s athleticism in some ways.
Kevin Durant was at his bets in the Thunder’s last game especially in the fourth quarter where he scored 18 of his 38 points to help Oklahoma City come from down 11 entering the period and win 105-102.
Durant and the Thunder have beaten the Hawks the last four times that they have played with Durant averaging 31.0 points.
Oklahoma City has been playing like one of the best teams in the league of late and Atlanta isn’t at full strength.
Atlanta has been without Al Horford for some time now and should be without Joe Johnson tonight who is out with a knee and expected to miss another game or two.
Josh Smith has stepped up somewhat in this absence including 24 points and 19 rebounds in his last game. Smith shouldn’t be terribly effective against Oklahoma City tonight who will strut out Serge Ibaka on the other side to try and contain him and surely invite the 18-foot jumper that everyone kills Smith for taking.
The Thunder have been able to take advantage of their Big Three getting production from at least one at all times. Last game it was Russell Westbrook who carried the load when the team seemed to have no life. Durant became the closer and James Harden chipped in with big buckets from time-to-time.
It’s been almost one year exactly since these teams played so the Hawks literally haven’t seen this Harden yet. Tonight with the second unit expect Harden to get to the rim and control the pace with a very efficient night.
Westbrook has been ruled out of tonight’s game however so the challenge will be tougher than first anticipated. Reggie Jackson will get a chance to step up after not having the greatest season so far. This is where the Thunder will really miss Eric Maynor.
It will be interesting to see the Thunder without Westbrook this season and how Jackson, Durant and Harden handle the playmaking.