Recent news sets up must-see OKC Thunder faceoff

Chet Holmgren #7 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Chet Holmgren #7 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder have started the 2023-24 season with a bang. A 20-point beat down of the Chicago Bulls in the Windy City sparked a players-only meeting for Chicago and proved this young core is for real. While the road will get tougher, and this season is a marathon, not a sprint, the Thunder made a tremendous first impression.

After 24 Hours of the fans celebrating this season-opening victory, the Oklahoma City Thunder return to the hardwood against the Cleveland Cavaliers. This will wrap up a two-game mini-road trip for the Thunder before they return to the Paycom Center on Sunday for their home opener against the Denver Nuggets.

With Jarret Allen missing Friday’s OKC Thunder clash, Chet Holmgren and Evan Mobley will be on center stage.

Game two is arguably more exciting than game one. While no one would give back the 20-point win, coasting to the finish line, there is some added juice to this game against Cleveland. Back in 2021, the rumors were swirling of the OKC Thunder’s interest in now Cavs big man Evan Mobley, and the hints that the feelings were mutual.

Ultimately, Mobley went third overall to Cleveland, and the Thunder grabbed Josh Giddey in the sixth slot of the 2021 NBA Draft. In the 2022 NBA Draft, the OKC Thunder were able to draft Chet Holmgren with the second overall pick. His debut was a year in the making, but he has been stellar throughout the preseason.

Now, he gets the chance to face-off with Mobley in the Cavs home opener. The Cavs typically run duel big men in Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, but with Allen out for Friday’s tilt, even more pressure will be put on the young big men.

Jarrett Allen will miss his second straight game with an ankle bruise for the Cavs. This plays into the hands of the Thunder, who lack some size down-low, especially with Jaylin Williams (hamstring) and Kenrich Williams (back) on the shelf.

It also makes for a more high-profile matchup between Chet Holmgren and Evan Mobley. There is nowhere else for the two big men to go than to match up with one another on each end of the floor in all likelihood.

When you mix this Evan Mobley vs. Chet Holmgren matchup and couple it with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander vs. Donovan Mitchell, you get one of the best matchups on the NBA docket.

For complete game coverage and season-long coverage, be sure to stay tuned right here to Thunderous Intentions. 

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