Preview 14 of 82: Knicks @ Thunder
Time: 7:00 PM CST
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
The Oklahoma City Thunder return to action tonight at Chesapeake Energy Arena, facing Enes Kanter and the New York Knicks. Winners of seven of their last eight games, including a 3-1 record without Russell Westbrook, the Thunder will look to keep it going against a Knicks team that has lost two straight and is currently sitting in 13th place in the Eastern Conference. Westbrook, who went through morning shootaround with his teammates, is considered a game-time decision despite being listed as ‘Out’ in the game notes.
Tip-off is at 7:00 P.M. CST and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder are nine-point home favorites according to Odds Shark.
Official Westbrook Update:
- Russell Westbrook: Game Time Decision — Ankle
- Andre Roberson: Out — Knee
- Kristaps Porzingis: Out — Knee
- Courtney Lee: Out — Neck
- Lance Thomas: Out — Knee
Knicks: Emmanual Mudiay, Tim Hardaway Jr., Noah Vonleh, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson
What to Watch For
Return of The Brodie?: Despite being listed as ‘Out’ in the game notes, Westbrook apparently went through shootaround this morning — and Paul George may have let the cat out of the bag with an offhand comment he made to the media. According to Brett Dawson of The Athletic, George referred to the Thunder as “somewhat healthy now with Russ back.” If Westbrook does indeed make his return, Dennis Schroder will move back to the bench and again run the second unit. Look for an official update on Westbrook closer to tip-off.
For the City: The Thunder will debut their 2018-19 “City” alternates tonight, which look like this if you’re unfamiliar:
The Menace: Enes Kanter will make another triumphant return to Oklahoma City — but has recently been replaced by Mitchell Robinson in the starting lineup. He’s still a walking double-double off the bench, averaging 15.4 points and 12.1 rebounds in just under 27 minutes per game. Here’s to hoping for plenty of Kanter/Steven Adams match-ups — although the Knicks should do everything they can to keep Kanter away from Adams on the defensive end.
The Hardaway: Tim Hardaway Jr. is the Knicks’ leading scorer, coming into tonight averaging 23.2 PPG. With a general lack of weaponry on the Knicks roster, slowing Hardaway would go a long way toward picking up the victory. George will likely take on that match-up on the defensive end.
Keep it Rolling: The Thunder shot 48 percent from deep and 95 percent (!!!) from the free throw line in Monday’s 118-101 victory over the Suns. With both of those numbers coming in well over the season average, it would be extremely encouraging for the Thunder if they can somewhat replicate that against the Knicks. George spearheaded the effort from deep, hitting 6-of-10 from long range en route to a season-high 32 points.
Nick Gallo’s game day report: