Nov. 26, 2010; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) and Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger (33) share some words during a free throw at Conseco Fieldhouse. Oklahoma City defeated Indiana 110-106 in OT. Mandatory credit: Michael Hickey-US PRESSWIRE

Thunder (40-14) at Pacers (33-21), 7:00 P.M. EST tip

Michael Hickey-US PRESSWIRE

Thunder (2-game losing streak)
107.4 Offensive Efficiency (1st)
99.9 Defensive Efficiency (9th)
95.6 Pace (6th)
57.1 True Shooting % (1st)
51.5 Rebound Rate (4th)

Pacers (3-game winning streak)
103.0 Offensive Efficiency (9th)
100.2 Defensive Efficiency (11th)
93.3 Pace (19th)
52.7 True Shooting % (14th)
50.7 Rebound Rate (9th)

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers meet tonight for the first and only time this season.

The Thunder are currently going through a tough little stretch in which they’ve lost their last two games. The Pacers have been one of the most improved teams this season, currently the three-seed in the East and riding a three-game winning streak into tonight’s game.

The Thunder and Pacers play two different brands of ball. Oklahoma City likes to get up and down and beat you one-on-one. It’s a collective effort from the Pacers that usually does the trick and they play tough defense and do well on the boards.

Oklahoma City has been susceptible in defeat to giving up a lot of second-chance opportunities. With All-Star center Roy Hibbert and super-energy guy Tyler Hansbrough off the bench the Pacers can definitely hurt you in that way.

The Thunder are coming off two games in which they faced very tough defense so they should be in gear for that tonight. The talent factor is largely in the Thunder’s favor tonight.

Kevin Durant should have a much easier time getting looks tonight than he did the past two games against Memphis and Miami. Although Paul George is turning into a very good perimeter defender and has the length to contend with Durant’s. It will be an interesting matchup tonight to see if Durant is slowed down by the two-year man.

Another interesting matchup will be the former UCLA teammates, Russell Westbrook and Darren Collison. They played together in college and made it to the Final Four with Collison running point then and Westbrook as the combo two. Expect Westbrook to be motivated to challenge his former teammate and possibly try for a big scoring night.

The bench is an area where the Pacers are solid and the Thunder shouldn’t expect their usual advantage when the starters come out. It will be up to James Harden so get production from the second unit on the road where they often aren’t up to par.

With three weeks left in the season this is the third straight game for the Thunder against one of the better opponents in the NBA, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They dropped their first two tests and have only done that twice all season. A third consecutive loss is unlikely so expect a Thunder victory tonight.

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Tags: Indiana Pacers James Harden Kevin Durant Paul George Roy Hibbert Russell Westbrook

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