Preview 20 of 82: Cavs @ Thunder
Time: 7:00 PM CST
Game Notes: Thunder / Cavaliers
The Thunder (12-7) are in action tonight in Oklahoma City, facing the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers (4-15) at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Coming off an ugly loss to the Denver Nuggets last Saturday, the Thunder will look to get back to their winning ways against the injury-plagued and talent-hungry Cavs. This will be the second time the teams will meet this month, as a Russell Westbrook-less OKC squad defeated Cleveland by a final score of 95-86 on November 7. It will be their final meeting of the 2018-19 season.
Tip-off is at 7:00 P.M. CST and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder are 12.5-point home favorites according to Odds Shark.
- Nerlens Noel: Questionable — Calf
- Hamidou Diallo: Out — Ankle
- Terrance Ferguson: Out — Ankle
- Andre Roberson: Out — Knee
- Sam Dekker: Out– Ankle
- George Hill: Out — Shoulder
- Kevin Love: Out — Foot
- David Nwaba: Out — Knee
- JR Smith: Out — Personal
Cavs: Collin Sexton, Rodney Hood, Cedi Osman, Larry Nance Jr., Tristan Thompson
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Nov. 7: OKC 95, CLE 86 [BOX SCORE]
What to Watch For
The Starting Five. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot started at shooting guard on Saturday against Denver — with Dennis Schroder getting the nod at 2-guard in the Thunder’s previous game against Charlotte. It’s unclear who Billy Donovan will roll with tonight — though going with TLC and keeping Schroder locked into his role off the bench seems likely. Both Hamidou Diallo and Terrance Ferguson are still out with their ankle sprains.
The Last Time. A Westbrook-less Thunder team went into Cleveland on November 7 and came away with a narrow 95-86 victory. In the first game of Westbrook’s eventual six-game absence, it was Schroder who led the way — posting 28 points and 7 rebounds on 11-of-19 shooting. Six Cavs scored in double-figures, led by Collin Sexton’s 15. Despite picking up the win, the Thunder were out-rebounded by the Cavs and will look to rectify that tonight in OKC.
Good Russ/Bad Russ. Much has been made of Westbrook’s 6-of-23 shooting effort on Saturday against Denver — particularly the 1-of-12 clip from long range. However, the Cavs are vulnerable to opposing points guards — especially with George Hill scheduled to miss his tenth consecutive game due to a shoulder injury. With rookie Collin Sexton lined up opposite of Westbrook, look for the former MVP to get to his spots, rock the baby a little, and, hopefully, clean up his shot selection. Cleveland should be an opportunity to work out some kinks while enjoying a fairly large margin for error.
Mas Abrines. Alex Abrines has been dealing with an illness that cost him three games, but has been somewhat back in the Thunder rotation over the last two. He went scoreless in seven minutes against the Hornets last Friday, and scoreless yet again in eight minutes against the Nuggets on Saturday. In a game OKC is favored to win by double-digits, here’s to hoping Abrines can see some extended run and find a bit of rhythm. The Thunder still desperately need shooting and his talents will be necessary when the schedule gets more difficult.
Nerlens. Nerlens Noel is currently ‘questionable’ with a left calf contusion. His status will be updated closer to tip-off.