Thunder look to build on momentum when Detroit comes to town

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OKC Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – NOVEMBER 22: Russell Westbrook #0 of the OKC Thunder reacts as his team takes a commanding lead against the Golden State Warriors during the second half of a NBA game at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on November 22, 2017 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)

Two days after demolishing the Golden State Warriors, the OKC Thunder host the Detroit Pistons for the two teams’ first matchup of the season.

It’s going to be veryyyyyyyyy interesting to see how the Oklahoma City Thunder respond after their statement win on Thanksgiving Eve. While OKC is trying to build legitimate momentum for the first time all season, the Detroit Pistons are returning from a three-day hiatus after being bullied by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Pistons jumped out to one of the hottest starts in the NBA yet have cooled off since then. They’ve lost three of their last four games, with the win coming in Minnesota this past Sunday. Their early-season success is largely due to quick starts from their “young” talents in Andre Drummond and Tobias Harris. Consequently their recent skid comes when Drummond and Harris are struggling to maintain their Player of the Week-caliber play.

Don’t get it twisted – this isn’t the non-Playoff Detroit team from last season. Even with those three losses the Pistons are tied for second place in the Eastern Conference with the Toronto Raptors. Avery Bradley built on his 2017 Playoffs and is averaging career highs in point (17.2 per game) and three-point percentage (44.4%). Reggie Jackson appears refocused and re-energized after a dismal 2016-2017 campaign. Even Stan Van Gundy is changing his coaching philosophy in his 12th season.

MUST READ: Takeaways from the Thunder’s win against Golden State

But…

This Thunder team just beat the defending NBA champions with ease. While Oklahoma City hasn’t come close to working out their major flaws, they’ve established a clear team identity. The Pistons provide them with a different challenge then the Warriors: a slow-paced team that wants to grind out wins by controlling play in the paint. How OKC adjusts in two days will be telling of there growth as a 15-man unit.

Click through for the most important things to watch, including the Thunder’s keys to game and Thunderous Intentions’ final prediction.

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