Preview 79 of 82: Thunder vs Pistons
Time: 7:00 PM CST
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
The Oklahoma City Thunder (45-33) are looking for their second straight win tonight at Chesapeake Energy Arena, taking on the Detroit Pistons (39-39) in the second-to-last home game of the regular season. The Thunder are currently seventh in the Western Conference — leading the 8-seed Spurs by a half game, and trailing the 6-seed Clippers by a game and a half. The Pistons are holding down sixth in the East, but need a win as they are only a game up on ninth with four games remaining.
Tip-off is at 7:00 PM CST and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder are 8.5-point home favorites according to Odds Shark.
Update: Blake Griffin (knee) is active and in Detroit’s starting lineup.
- Andre Roberson: Out — Knee
- Blake Griffin: ACTIVE — Knee
- Luke Kennard: Probable — Foot
- Svi Mykhailiuk: Out — Finger
Pistons: Reggie Jackson, Wayne Ellington, Bruce Brown, Thon Maker, Andre Drummond
|Team||EFG||FTA%||TO%||OREB%||OP EFG||OP FTA||OP TO||OP OREB|
OKC leads season series 1-0
What to Watch For
Blake: Griffin is considered a ‘game-time decision’ in his return to Oklahoma, as he’s missed the last three games due to a knee injury. The Pistons are 1-2 in the absence of their best player (24.7 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 5.5 APG), and they could certainly stand to get him back as they fight for their playoff lives tonight at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Thon Maker will draw the start opposite of Jerami Grant if Griffin can’t go. Maker scored two points on 0-of-4 shooting in his 33 minutes against the Pacers in Detroit’s last game.
Last Time: Steven Adams led the Thunder in scoring in OKC’s 110-83 win over the Pistons on December 3, dropping 21 points and eight rebounds in his match-up with Andre Drummond (13 pts, 6 reb). Six Thunder players scored in double-figures in that game — Adams, Russell Westbrook (18), Paul George (17), Jerami Grant (15), Dennis Schroder (12), and Nerlens Noel (12). Defensively, OKC held Detroit to 33% shooting and 6-of-32 (18.8%) from long range.
History x3: Westbrook put up a historic 20-20-21 triple-double in Tuesday’s win over the Lakers — just the second 20-20-20 game in NBA history. He needs four assists tonight to clinch his third consecutive season with a triple-double average. If it goes anything like Tuesday, he’ll have the accolade locked up long before halftime. Just absolute madness.
Spread the Love: The Thunder got scoring from all over in Tuesday’s win against L.A., as all five starters and Schroder all scored in double-figures. It sort of goes without saying, but they should try to do that again.
The Other Guys. Griffin (game time decision) leads the Pistons in scoring at 24.7 PPG. He’s joined in double-figures by Drummond (17. PPG), Reggie Jackson (15.5 PPG), and Wayne Ellington (12.3 PPG). Though Detroit has a bottom-10 offense (108.2 ORTG), their defense comes in 12th with a defensive rating of 108.7. They play the third-slowest brand of basketball in the NBA at a pace of 98.08, so they’ll likely try to slow the Thunder down and dictate the tempo by eliminating transition scoring opportunities.
Gallo’s game day report: