Preview 21 of 82: Hawks @ Thunder
Time: 7:00 PM CST
The Thunder (13-7) are back in action tonight in Oklahoma City, taking on Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks (5-17) at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder will be looking to build on Russell Westbrook’s 23 point, 19 rebound, 15 assist triple-double against Cleveland on Wednesday, while Young will try to break out in front of his hometown crowd and lead the Hawks to an upset victory.
Tip-off is at 7:00 P.M. CST and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder are 13-point home favorites according to Odds Shark.
- Terrance Ferguson: Out — Ankle
- Andre Roberson: Out — Knee
- Jeremy Lin: Questionable — Ankle
- Alex Poythress: Out — Ankle
Hawks: Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, Taurean Prince, John Collins, Dewayne Dedmon
What to Watch For
Stay Awake. Though the Hawks’ starting backcourt of Trae Young and Kevin Huerter is by no means Steph & Klay, that sort of splash potential is the idea behind the two rookie guards. Young is shooting just 25.4 percent from long range so far this season, with Huerter hitting 39.7 percent of his. Regardless, the Thunder shouldn’t get lazy and let one (or both) of them get hot.
Ready to Run. The Hawks lead the NBA with more than 109 possessions per game — proof of their desire to run and play at an extremely quick tempo. The Thunder are eleventh in pace, averaging 105.6 possessions per game this season. With both teams having an interest in speeding it up, look for this one to feature plenty of offense and transition opportunities.
Prepare the Glass. The Hawks give up an average of 11 offensive rebounds to opposing teams, good for 20th place in the NBA. The Thunder average 13.4 offensive boards per game — best in the league. OKC should be able to create a lot more opportunities for themselves in this one, and it’s also one of those nights it wouldn’t be crazy to see Steven Adams get close to double-digits on the offensive glass.
Shooting Guard. Billy Donovan tried yet another starting five in the Thunder’s last game, going with Alex Abrines alongside Westbrook in the backcourt. Abrines shot early and often, but went just 1-of-8 from long range in his 27 minutes of action. It’s unknown if he will get the nod again, but with news of Andre Roberson’s latest setback, Abrines is an important piece that the Thunder need to get rolling.
Hami-Back. Speaking of the shooting guard rotation, Hamidou Diallo is healthy and available for Donovan tonight. Pretty incredible considering he broke his leg off just nine days ago.
Old Friends. Tonight will be Young’s first trip to Chesapeake Energy Arena as an NBA player, and I suspect he’ll get a warm ovation from the crowd prior to tip-off. He comes in as Atlanta’s leading scorer at 15.9 points per game but hasn’t been effective from long range — and is still growing into the role of franchise player for the Hawks. Perhaps a visit home will get him going (it worked for Buddy Hield a few years back), but one guy who won’t give that up easily is Dennis Schroder. The Thunder’s backup point guard spent five seasons in Atlanta before watching the Hawks draft Young — all but finalizing his time with the franchise.