Preview 43 of 82: Thunder @ Hornets
Time: 4:00 PM CT
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
Radio: 98.1 FM OKC / 97.1 FM Tulsa
The Oklahoma City Thunder (22-20) has lost three straight ahead of today’s game in Charlotte — dropping five out of the last seven after previously winning 12 of 15. The Thunder will again be without Andre Roberson, exposing a defense that has allowed 110.6 points per game in the six contests without him.
The Hornets (16-24) enter having won four of their last six and sit five games back of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The team is led by its underrated point guard Kemba Walker, who carries a 21.8 PPG scoring average into today’s match-up with Russell Westbrook.
Tip-off is at 4:00 PM CT and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder is a 1.5-point favorite according to Odds Shark.
- Andre Roberson: Out — Knee
- Cody Zeller: Out — Knee
Hornets: Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marvin Williams, Dwight Howard
|Team||EFG%||FTA Rate||TOV%||OREB%||OPP EFG%||OPP FTA||OPP TOV%||OPP OREB%|
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Thunder O & D
Hornets O & D
12/11: CHA 116, OKC 103 [BOX SCORE]
No Andre Roberson. The Thunder enters just 2-4 in the absence of Andre Roberson — allowing 1.137 points per possession without him. Terrance Ferguson figures to again draw the start at shooting guard, but I don’t love his match-up with Nicolas Batum. Wouldn’t be shocked to see a lot of Josh Huestis in this one. Bonus points if Billy Donovan moves things around and gives Patrick Patterson an extended look with the starters.
Worn Out Hornets. The Hornets are on the second half of a back-to-back, as they defeated the Utah Jazz by a final score of 99-88 last night in Charlotte. It will be the team’s third game in four days — providing no excuses for the Thunder in terms of effort.
Long Range. Both teams enter in the NBA’s bottom 10 when it comes to three-point shooting. Whoever finds rhythm from long distance will have an obvious leg up. Charlotte hit 13/25 (52 percent) in their 13-point win over the Thunder on December 11. OKC hit 9/26 (34.6 percent).
OK3. Russell Westbrook is averaging 27 points, 10.2 assists and 9.4 rebounds on 51 percent shooting thus far in January. Paul George is averaging 21.7 PPG over the same span but is coming off a 13-point effort against Minnesota on Wednesday. Carmelo Anthony is chipping in 18.2 PPG in the new year — but all three have been out of sync together over the current three-game losing streak. They need to get rolling early and stay hot, as they rarely recover from slow starts.
The Other Guys. Kemba Walker leads the Hornets with 21.8 points and 5.8 assists per game. Dwight Howard has a 15.6 PPG, 12.1 RPG average. Jeremy Lamb (because of course) is Charlotte’s third leading scorer at a career-best 14.4 PPG.
Carmelo Anthony discusses the Thunder’s inability to beat bad teams. Via Royce Young.