Tip-Off: 6:30 PM CST
Location: Madison Square Garden (Manhattan, New York)
Radio: The Sports Animal
Twitter: Follow @TheThunderGuys for live-tweets during the game
Player to Watch
SF Carmelo Anthony is not the player he once was, but he is still a very capable scorer from all over the court. Andre Roberson will once again be tasked with guarding a player that has a size advantage, but Roberson has proved time and again that he can defend players with a wide array of talents. In sixteen games so far this season, Anthony is averaging 23 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.7 assists, but what statistics do not show is that because of his ability to score, he draws attention that leaves his teammates more available to put up shots.
Keys to the Game
- Defend the Arc: New York is not known for its ability to shoot a high-rate of threes, and even when they do, they are mid-tier when it comes to making them. With that being said, Oklahoma City has a bad habit of leaving shooters open around the perimeter. The Knicks have a number of different players who are able to knock down the three-ball, so the Thunder cannot get lazy when it comes to defending the beyond the arc.
- Continue to Take Care of the Ball: The Thunder has made a good habit of taking much better care of the ball over the last few games. On the season, Oklahoma City ranks 27th in the league in turnovers averaging 15.8 per game, but over the last three games, the Thunder has averaged only 10.7, a vast improvement from where they had been so far. The Knicks are not a very good team defensively, so the Thunder need to be efficient with the ball and continue to make good decisions.
- Feed the Bigs: More and more lately the Thunder bigs have begun to play a bigger part in the Oklahoma City offense, which has taken a lot of pressure off of Russell Westbrook and the rest of the Thunder backcourt . Steven Adams has especially benefited as he has scored in double digits in four of the last six games. If the Thunder can continue to succeed in the paint, then that will open up the spacing of the floor for a shooter like Anthony Morrow to step in and do what he does best.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.