Time: 6:30 PM CT
Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC/97.1 FM Tulsa)
Game Notes: Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder (40-29) is a season-best 11 games over .500 and quietly making its way up the ranks in the Western Conference. The Thunder will look to win its fourth consecutive game tonight in Atlanta, facing a Hawks (20-47) team that should offer little resistance.
Current standings in the crowded West:
The Thunder is on the second night of a back-to-back after narrowly escaping the Sacramento Kings last night in OKC. The team may be without Steven Adams, who suffered a left hip contusion against the Kings and was already suffering from a sprained ankle he sustained last Saturday against the Spurs. His status will be updated closer to game time.
Tip-off is at 6:30 PM CT and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder is a 9.5-point road favorite according to Odds Shark.
- Steven Adams: Questionable — Hip
- Andre Roberson: Out – Knee
- Tyler Cavanaugh: Probable — Ankle
- Kent Bazemore: Out — Knee
- Malcolm Delaney: Out — Ankle
- DeAndre Bembry: Out — Groin
- Antonious Cleveland: Out — Ankle
- Jaylen Morris: Out — Ankle
Hawks: Dennis Schroder, Tyler Dorsey, Taurean Prince, John Collins, Dewayne Dedmon
|Team||EFG%||FTA Rate||TOV%||OREB%||OPP EFG%||OPP FTA||OPP TOV%||OPP OREB%|
Thunder O & D
Hawks O & D
Dec. 22: OKC 120, ATL 117 [BOX SCORE]
Steven Adams. Big Kiwi suited up against the Kings despite being questionable with a sprained ankle. He then suffered the left hip contusion in the third quarter of last night’s game and again carries a “questionable” designation ahead of this one. While he may surprise us all and play, it feels like a safer bet that he’ll be held out and allowed to heal ahead of a string of important games that begins on Friday night against the Clippers. Look for Patrick Patterson and Jerami Grant to see plenty of run at center if that is indeed the case. (For the record — I said the same thing yesterday. He shouldn’t play.)
Paul George Heat Check. Paul George entered last night shooting just 26 percent from deep after the All-Star break. He then went 4-of-9 from long distance against the Kings — a welcomed sign of life from a guy that’s hitting 41 percent from long range on the season. Opposing teams are shooting 37.8 percent from three-point land against the Hawks, the second-highest mark in the NBA. If there’s an opponent that should allow for George to continue heating up, it’s this one. Look for more of that.
Russell Westbrook History Watch. The reigning MVP notched his 20th triple-double of the season last night — the 99th in his career. He now has an opportunity to reach 100 career triple-doubles, a feat only accomplished by Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, and Jason Kidd. He put up a 30-7-15 stat line against the Hawks on December 22, so there’s reason to believe he’ll play well. Could be a historic night for the Brodie.
Inconsistent Melo. Carmelo Anthony scored just two points on Saturday versus the Spurs but bounced back last night — dropping 21 points on 5-of-7 shooting from long distance. His effectiveness will be important if Adams sits and he’s proven capable of torching the Hawks this season. He scored 24 points on a 7-of-12 effort from downtown on December 22. (Also: He needs 36 points to pass Reggie Miller for 19th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. If he does that tonight, I’ll legally change my name to Carmelo.)
The Hawks’ Attack. The Hawks aren’t a good team but it took a Russell Westbrook game-winner to down them on December 22. Atlanta was without Dennis Schroder in that game, which is important because he’s easily their best player. Schroder is averaging 19.2 points and 6.1 assists this season and will lead the attack for the Hawks tonight. Rookie John Collins averages 10.3 points and 7 rebounds and has the athleticism to become a problem for Melo defensively. Dewayne Dedmon could have a big night if Adams sits, as the big man averages a shade under 10 PPG and shoots 37 percent from long distance. There’s also a whole mess of random players that will see action for the Hawks. As most Thunder fans know, it’s the random guys you gotta worry about.