Tip-Off: 6:30 PM CST
Location: Phillips Arena (Atlanta, Georgia)
Radio: The Sports Animal
Twitter: Follow @TheThunderGuys for live-tweets during the game
Player to Watch
PG Dennis Schroeder is easily having the best season of his career so far. Former Hawk PG Jeff Teague was traded in the offseason, which opened up the door for Schroeder to become the new floor general for Atlanta. Through 21 games, Schroeder is averaging 15.5 points, 6.0 assists, and 3.0 rebounds, and he is a likely candidate for NBA’s Most Improved Player.
Keys to the Game
- Defensive Intensity: Atlanta is a team that struggles to take care of the ball. Despite rankings 6th in the NBA with 23.2 assists a game, the Hawks rank 29th in turnovers with 17.0 a game. Atlanta also struggles at the free throw line, shooting 69.5% as a team (29th in the league). The Thunder needs to play physical defense and either pressure the Hawks into making mistakes or force them to earn their points at the charity stripe.
- Offensive Efficiency: Atlanta ranks 2nd in the NBA in forcing turnovers with opponents averaging 16.1 a game, while Oklahoma ranks 23rd in the league in turnovers with 15.7 a game. The Thunder has been doing a much better job at taking care of the ball over the last couple of weeks, and they need to make good choices tonight, or else the Hawks could score some easy points.
- Finish at the Rim: Oklahoma City ranks 5th in the league in field goal % on shots under 8 feet from the basket making 57.6% of attempts. Atlanta does not foul its opponents very often at all, so the Thunder need to finish in the paint, and when fouled, knock down free throws.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.