Preview 53 of 82: Magic @ Thunder
Time: 7:00 PM CST
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
The Thunder (33-19) are returning to action tonight in Oklahoma City, facing the Orlando Magic (22-31) at Chesapeake Energy Arena. OKC’s seven-game winning streak came to an end on Sunday afternoon in Boston, as they fell to the Celtics by a final score of 134-129. The Thunder will look to get back on track against a Magic team they beat a week ago today, but has won two straight (Pacers, Nets) since.
Tip-off is at 7:00 PM CST and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder are 10-point home favorites according to Odds Shark.
- Abdel Nader: Questionable — Illness
- Andre Roberson: Out — Knee
- Mo Bamba: Out — Leg
- Timofey Mozgov: Out — Knee
- Isaiah Briscoe: Questionable — Ankle
Magic: DJ Augustin, Evan Fournier, Jonathan Isaac, Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic
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What to Watch For
Down Low. The Thunder were without Steven Adams when they faced the Magic a week ago today, resulting in Orlando winning 53-43 on the glass and grabbing 18 offensive rebounds for 18 second-chance points. Nikola Vucevic hit OKC for 27 points and 12 rebounds — but the presence of Big Kiwi should make his life much more difficult tonight. If Adams can disrupt Vucevic and solidify the paint, perhaps the Thunder can win more comfortably this time. Orlando had the lead after three quarters last Tuesday and it took 18 fourth quarter points from Dennis Schroder to help OKC squeak by.
Triple-Double Streaking. Russell Westbrook has recorded six consecutive triple-doubles heading into tonight — a noteworthy accomplishment, no doubt. However, not all triple-doubles are created equal. Westbrook was ultra-controlled against the Magic last week, dropping a 23-14-14 stat line on 7-of-12 shooting (1/2 3P, 8/12 FT). He routinely blitzed the paint, cut out the mid-range jumpers, and earned himself several trips to the line with his aggressiveness. Seeing as how he’s done it so recently, the Thunder would benefit from a similar approach this evening.
PG Heat Check. Paul George scored 37 points on 14-of-24 shooting against Orlando a week ago — 31 of which came in the first half. He’s now scored 36+ in four straight games and is averaging 32.5 PPG on 48.6 percent shooting from 3-point range over the last 10. He’s been too hot lately to assume he slows down in this one.
Defending the 3-Point Line. The Magic hit 14 threes in last Tuesday’s game, led by Terrance Ross and his 4-of-10 clip. Terrance Ferguson did not play in that contest (back), so his presence should be a natural boost to the OKC defense. However, Orlando has a number of players capable of getting hot from deep and the Thunder will need to be better than they were last week. DJ Augustin (43.6%), Vucevic (37.8%), Ross (37.7%), Aaron Gordon (34.9%), and Evan Fournier (33.3) are a few names to keep an eye on here.
Nick Gallo’s game day report: