OKC Thunder look to extend win streak, host Atlanta Hawks: game preview

OKC Thunder Steven Adams (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder Steven Adams (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
ORLANDO, FL – JANUARY 22: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 and Chris Paul #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder talk during the game against the Orlando Magic. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder backcourt prowess:

Schroder has often said OKC has three elite point guards who can get the job done and he’s right. It’s a luxury that the Thunder have and can rely on in tough moments throughout the game.

Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Schroder can all have terrific individual performances. And if for some reason their shots aren’t falling or they’re not themselves in one game, they can always pass the torch to the other person who is quick to take over. This will have a significant impact on their matchup with the Hawks.

Trae Young x factor:

Trae Young remains questionable to play due to a thigh contusion but if he does end up playing, the Thunder will need to limit him. Restricting Young is definitely easier said than done for the guard who just learned he’ll start in his first All-Star Game appearance.

Only in his second year, he is averaging 29.2 points, 8.6 assists and 4.7 rebounds. The Thunder boast length so this will help them in this particular matchup. However, Young is fearless and won’t back down so it will be a tough task for OKC.

Thunder two-way effort:

The OKC Thunder have continued to improve on both ends of the floor. OKC is 17th in offensive rating (109.6) and 13th in defensive rating (107.8). This is compared to the Hawks who are 29th in offensive rating (103.6) and 26th in defensive rating (112.5).

So the Thunder does have the advantage of providing an all-round game that is hard to stop. Even without their full team healthy they lock-in and know that you’re not going to win by just dominating one part of the game.

Young Hawks team:

The Hawks are led by 21-year-old Young (no pun intended) and the oldest player in the starting line up is 31-year-old Jeff Teague. Everyone else is 22 years of age or younger in that starting five. So are still trying to establish an identity for themselves

Even though the Thunder does have a young squad, they’re not as young as the Hawks. The experience that OKC has will serve them well in this game especially with Paul showing the way.