Feb 17, 2012; Oklahoma City OK, USA;Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee (10) drives to the basket against Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Nick Collison (4) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE

OKC Thunder (7-3) vs. Golden State Warriors (5-4) Preview


Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

It’s always exciting when the Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors get together as they will tonight at 7 p.m. EST in OKC.

The main reason for this is that Kevin Durant always seems to put up huge numbers against Golden State. Durant is averaging 30.9 points per game vs. the Warriors in his career which is second-most only to the Wizards.

Durant has increased his scoring quite a bit recently for the Thunder and should be poised for a big output again tonight, especially with rookie Harrison Barnes being his matchup defensively.

The Warriors aren’t known for playing a lot of defense although second year head coach Mark Jackson is trying to change that. Golden State’s defensive efficiency is 10th in the NBA so far this season but the problem is that their offense is only 25th.

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson make up their backcourt and probably the best outside shooting tandem in the league although they have not lived up to that so far this year. Curry is leading the team at 17.0 points per game but shooting just 30.9 percent from three. Thompson is averaging 15.1 points per game and shooting 33.3 percent from downtown.

With Curry and Thompson not producing well enough offensively, the better option for Golden State is often backup point guard Jarrett Jack. The Warriors are much better defensively with Jack on the floor and they will need that kind of presence tonight vs. Russell Westbrook.

Westbrook has been on a sharing tear of late dishing out 25 assists in the last two games for the Thunder. He’s really struggling from the field this year shooting just 38.8 percent but against Golden State he could be ready to really improve that number.

Despite Westbrook’s shooting struggles, the Thunder are leading the league in true shooting percentage. A big reason why is that they are shooting over 40 percent from downtown so far this season.

Kevin Martin and Thabo Sefolosha have been most effective from the 3-point line this season for the Thunder with each well over 50 percent on the year. If Durant and Westbrook are doing their job attacking this Golden State defense, open looks should continue to come Martin’s and Sefolosha’s way.

A key matchup tonight will also be at the power forward spot between Serge Ibaka and David Lee. Both are averaging around 15 points per game this season with Ibaka really increasing his scoring output this year. If he can keep up with Lee in this matchup, it will be tough for the Warriors to overcome.

Andrew Bogut will not play tonight for Golden State either leaving them a little more vulnerable on the inside.

At home, the Warriors aren’t a team likely to knock off the Thunder. OKC seemed to have really gotten their act together in their last game vs. the Hornets and if they can carry over some of that momentum, they should win again tonight.

Tags: Golden State Warriors Oklahoma City Thunder