Time: 4:00 PM CT
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC / 97.1 FM Tulsa)
The Oklahoma City Thunder (28-20) has won six in a row ahead of today’s late afternoon match-up with the Detroit Pistons (22-24). It’s the longest active winning streak in the NBA, has propelled the Thunder to eight games above .500, and has a chance to get even lengthier due to a favorable game today in the Motor City.
The Pistons enter on a six-game losing streak and just 2-8 over their last 10 games. Reggie Jackson has missed the previous 13 contests due to a severely sprained ankle and the Pistons have caved in his absence. Detroit is just 3-10 without its starting point guard, going from five games above .500 to out of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference while he’s been away. As he’s still 2-3 weeks away from resuming any sort of basketball activity, the road ahead appears bleak after a promising start.
Tip-off is at 4:00 PM CT and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder is a 3-point favorite according to OddsShark.
- Reggie Jackson: Out — Ankle
- Jon Leuer: Out — Ankle
- Reggie Bullock: Questionable — Thumb
Pistons: Langston Galloway, Avery Bradley, Stanley Johnson, Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond
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Thunder O & D
Pistons O & D
11/24: DET 99, OKC 98 [BOX SCORE]
Encore. Russell Westbrook is coming off a season-high 46 points on Thursday night versus the Wizards, so he’ll look to keep it rolling today in Detroit. The reigning MVP is averaging 27.2 points, 9 rebounds and 9.6 assists thus far in January — he’s coming in hot and will be facing Langston Galloway. This has all the makings of a Westbrook takeover.
Defending the Three. The Pistons shoot the three about as well as anyone in the NBA, coming in with a 37.7 percent clip from deep — good for fourth-best in the league. The Thunder has given up 16 makes from long distance in back-to-back games and gave up 14 in the November 24 loss to Detroit. The perimeter defense needs to step up in this one.
Battle of the Snubbed. Both teams have guys that could reasonably be considered snubs for the All-Star Game. Detroit’s Andre Drummond is averaging 14.7 points, 15.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists but didn’t make it in the East. Paul George was the obvious snub on the Thunder roster but may end up making the trip anyway. DeMarcus Cousins suffered a serious achilles injury last night and is done for the season. Adam Silver will soon name a replacement and George is almost certainly at/near the top of the list.
Finishing the Job. The Thunder is a different team than the one that faced the Pistons on November 24, but there was a lesson to be learned in that one. OKC blew a 15 point lead and was outscored 50-39 in the second half — losing by one-point. The Thunder will want to get out and put together a complete effort to avoid a similar mistake. Bad teams can always hang around.
In Their Words. In David Brandon’s “Fraternizing with the Enemy” piece from this week, Duncan Smith from The Athletic Detroit said Tobias Harris will be the x-factor for the Pistons in today’s match-up:
“Tobias Harris needs to be the offensive focal point, largely because there’s nobody else. However, he’s struggled with an increased offensive load in Reggie Jackson’s absence.”