Tip-Off: 7:00 PM CST
Location: Chesapeake Energy Arena (Oklahoma City, OK)
Television: FSOK, NBATV
Radio: The Sports Animal
Twitter: Follow @TheThunderGuys for live-tweets during the game
Player to Watch
PF Marreese Speights has been a thorn in Oklahoma City’s side over the last few years during his tenure with the Warriors, and he proved to be an issue once again when the Thunder played in Los Angeles just a couple of weeks ago. “Mo Buckets,” as Speights is well-known, is the type of player who either has essentially no impact on the game or one who hits clutch shots and helps his team in a major way. The Thunder cannot allow Speights to get hot, either from behind the arc or in the paint, lest this game slip away at home.
Keys to the Game
- Start Strong: So far this season, Oklahoma City has had a bad habit of starting games slow. When they do get off to a good start, the second unit comes in and all hell breaks loose. The Thunder cannot afford to get down early against the hottest team in the NBA right now, especially as the Clippers will look to avenge their only loss of the season a couple of weeks ago against Oklahoma City at home.
- Take Care of the Ball: Oklahoma City continues to be reckless with the ball turning it over 17.6 times per game (23rd in the NBA). The Clipper defense is statistically the most efficient in the league right now, so the Thunder need to play methodical basketball, make good passes, take good shots, and simply be careful with how they handle each possession. For a team that likes to run up and down the court, slowing it down at times may be the best option for the Thunder.
- Bench Play is Key: An issue for the Thunder lately has been a major letdown of effort and output on the court as soon as the second unit checks in late in the first quarter. Just like starting strong is important, continuing to play competitive basketball, even when Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams, and the other starters check out, is essential to getting a win tonight. A couple of different guys need to come off the bench and put up some solid stats; otherwise, it could be a long game.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.