Time: 7:30 PM CT
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC / 97.1 FM Tulsa)
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s confusing start reached its most head-scratching level last night against the Detroit Pistons, as the Thunder again blew a double-digit lead en route to the team’s tenth loss of the season. OKC now has an 8-10 record and proved Wednesday’s win over the Golden State Warriors was not a clear turning of the corner for the underachieving squad. Still much work to be done.
Tonight presents an opportunity to work out some kinks, as the Thunder is in Dallas for a date with the 4-15 Mavericks. The two teams faced one another on November 12, with OKC taking a decisive 112-99 victory. The Thunder should have no issue escaping Big D with a win, but needs to put together a full four quarter effort to ease minds troubled by the team’s recent inconsistencies.
Now some notes.
- Seth Curry: Out — Leg
- Dorian Finney-Smith: Out — Knee
- Josh McRoberts: Out — Leg
Dallas Starters: Dennis Smith Jr., Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes, Max Kleber, Dirk Nowitzki
|Team||EFG%||FTA Rate||TOV%||OREB%||OPP EFG%||OPP FTA||OPP TOV%||OPP OREB%|
November 12: OKC 112, DAL 99 [Box Score]
Complete Effort. It should go without saying at this point, but the Thunder needs to put forth an effort that lasts the full 48 minutes of the ball game. This wasn’t a problem against the Warriors earlier in the week, but the issue showed its ugly face again versus the Pistons. OKC shot 52 percent from the field in the first half last night and followed it up with a 33 percent clunker in the final two quarters when the offensive approach regressed to garbage.
Paging Russell Westbrook. For as good as Russell Westbrook was against the Warriors, he was equally bad against the Pistons. His play has been impossible to predict thus far, but it would be a good sign if he comes out aggressive against a weak Mavericks team. Any sign of consistency is certainly welcomed.
Bench Play. The Thunder bench has combined for 25 points over the last two games, failing to make any sort of positive impact. If the starters can take care of business and build a safe lead, the bench needs to see extended run until something starts to drop. Looking at you, Abrines.
Last Time Around. The Thunder handily beat the Mavericks in the first match-up of the season, but did so with Steven Adams and Carmelo Anthony both sidelined with injuries. Paul George erupted for 37 points on 7/12 shooting from downtown, with Russell Westbrook contributing 27 points of his own. OKC shot 15/32 from long distance and won the game with a 39 point third quarter.
Dennis Smith Jr’s post-game interview after the first OKC/DAL game. When asked about what he learned facing Westbrook, he said, “I didn’t know he got that many calls.” Via Travis Singleton.