OKC Thunder matchup with Cleveland Cavaliers has no shortage of drama

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

The OKC Thunder are fresh off a 20-point beatdown of the Chicago Bulls to open up their season on Wednesday night, and they now travel to Cleveland to wrap up a two-game mini-road trip. The Cleveland Cavaliers earned a narrow, one-point victory over the Brooklyn Nets on the road Wednesday night.

This game represents the Cavs home opener, but Cleveland will be without Jarrett Allen (Ankle) for the second straight contest. Darius Garland (Hamstring) and Dean Wade (illness) are considered questionable for this game against Oklahoma City.

The Thunder will be without Kenrich Williams (back) and Jaylin Williams (hamstring) for the second straight contest. Still, even with the latest injury reports, this tilt in Cleveland has no shortage of storylines.

What to Watch for as the OKC Thunder battle the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second game of the season.

At 6:30 CST, the OKC Thunder will get their second contest of the season underway in Cleveland. This is the precursor for the Thunder’s home opener on Sunday afternoon against the Denver Nuggets.

The annual NBA General Managers survey was released mere days ago and tabbed these two franchises as having the best young cores in the association. This matchup is arguably the best on the docket tonight in the NBA.

What to watch for: 

Chet Holmgren vs Evan Mobley: 

The 2nd overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft clashing with the 3rd overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft for the first time is reason enough to check into this contest. But with the context of the OKC Thunder’s attempt to move up for Evan Mobley back in 2021 and his mutual feelings for the franchise,

However, with Jarrett Allen out, this matchup gets even higher profile. You looked around the lineup, and now there is no one else for either player to match up with in most lineups; they share the floor. It puts more pressure on the youngsters to truly face off with one another with little to no size help in most combinations.

Chet Holmgren fared well in a physical affair with the Chicago Bulls, and now he gets to go up against a fellow franchise-altering frontcourt prospect. The tests keep coming for Holmgren, but this one is among the most high-profile.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander trading buckets with Donovan Mitchell: 

These are two of the best scorers in the entire NBA. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has seen his status in the NBA climb over the last year. From All-Star hopeful at this time last year to bonafide Superstar, and now in the conversation for the MVP award after finishing top-five in voting at the end of last season.

Donovan Mitchell and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are among the best scorers the League has to offer, and the two will be trading buckets in the Cavs home opener on Friday. Who will end up pushing his team over the edge?

Where does the OKC Thunder three-point shooting level off? 

Against Chicago, the OKC Thunder tossed in 19 of their 39 three-point attempts. A jaw-dropping seven Thunder players hit multiple three-pointers, which was the first time that has happened in OKC history and just the 8th time it has happened in the history of the NBA.

Currently, shooting the trey ball at a 48 percent clip ranks the Thunder as the best three-point shooting team in the league. Clearly, it will be nearly impossible to replicate this shooting performance nightly.

However, with a full season and offseason of Chip Engelland’s tutoring and a roster revamp, where does this three-point percentage level off after a red-hot start in the Windy City?

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