Preview 69 of 82: Thunder @ Pacers
Time: 6:00 PM CST
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
The Oklahoma City Thunder (42-26) are on the road in Indiana tonight, taking on the Pacers (43-25) in Paul George’s second trip back to the city he used to call home. The Thunder are on the second night of a back-to-back after beating the Nets 108-96 last night in OKC — a victory that moved them back into third place in the Western Conference. The Pacers are currently fourth in the East despite losing Victor Oladipo to a season-ending knee injury on January 23. However, they’ve lost five of their last eight and have only beaten one team with a winning record since Oladipo went down.
Tip-off is at 6:00 PM CST and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder are 1-point road underdogs according to Odds Shark.
- Markieff Morris: Out — Neck
- Andre Roberson: Out — Knee
- Victor Oladipo: Out — Knee
- Tyreke Evans: Out — Personal
Pacers: Darren Collison, Wesley Matthews, Bojan Bogdanovic, Thaddeus Young, Myles Turner
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What to Watch For
PG Back in Indy. Tonight will be George’s second time in Indiana as a visitor, and he’ll be hoping for a better performance than what he put forth last season. Despite the Thunder taking a 100-95 victory, George scored just 12 points on 3-of-14 shooting in his first trip back to Bankers Life Field House. He averaged a paltry 11 PPG in two games versus the Pacers last season, but is obviously having his best NBA season yet in 2018-19. He’ll look to continue his MVP campaign in front of a crowd that is a safe bet to shower him with boos. You know how it goes.
Brodie Back. Russell Westbrook dropped a 31-12-11 triple-double on the Nets last night — his fourth 30+ point scoring effort in the last five games. The former MVP’s offense has jolted to life late in the season, as he’s averaging 30.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 7.5 assists in the 11 games since the All-Star break. What’s more, he’s shooting 47.8 percent from the floor and 38.5 percent from downtown over the span — a welcomed sight here in the stretch run. He’ll look to keep it rolling against the second-best defensive in the NBA (105.2 DRTG).
Markieff. Morris is listed as “OUT” for the second consecutive game (neck), but it wasn’t Patrick Patterson who filled his shoes last night — it was rookie Deonte Burton. The Iowa State product scored seven points on 3-of-7 shooting in 15 minutes, and figures to see the floor again tonight unless Billy Donovan wants to see what 2Pat can provide.
The Pacers’ Attack. Without Oladipo and Tyreke Evans (personal), the Pacers are led in scoring by Bojan Bogdanovic (17.8 PPG, 42.8% 3P), Domantas Sabonis (14.1 PPG, 9.2 RPG), Myles Turner (13.1 PPG, 2.9 BPG), Thaddeus Young (12.5 PPG), and Darren Collison (11.1 PPG). Wesley Matthews, who chose to sign with the Pacers over the Thunder after being bought out in New York, is averaging 12.6 PPG on 37.7 percent from deep in the 11 games since landing in Indianapolis. As a team, the Pacers shoot 37.4 percent from long range (5th), create 19.6 PPG off turnovers (3rd), score 14.9 PPG in transition (12th), and play the sixth-slowest brand of basketball in the league at a pace of 98.63.