Tip-Off: 6 PM CST
Location: Spectrum Center (Charlotte, NC)
Radio: The Sports Animal
Twitter: Follow @TheThunderGuys for live-tweets during the game
Player to Watch
PG Kemba Walker is having a career year so far in his sixth season with Charlotte. He is the clear leader of the Hornets, and so far this season he is averaging a career-high 23.0 points, 5.4 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game. Walker is also shooting a career high in field goal percent (47.0%) and three-point percent (42.0%). With the likes of Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Kyle Lowry, and Isaiah Thomas in the Eastern Conference, Kemba Walker may not be an NBA All-Star this season, but Russell Westbrook needs to play lockdown defense and keep Walker from giving his team a spark.
Keys to the Game
- Take Good Shots: The Thunder got off to their hottest start of the season in Milwaukee on Monday, but poor shot selection in the second half was a major contributor to the loss against the Bucks. Specifically, Russell Westbrook had one of his worst shooting games of the season going 3/17 in the second half. Oklahoma City needs to select their shots wisely and not just jack up unnecessary threes.
- Disturbance on Defense: Charlotte is a very good team when it comes to sharing the ball and not making mistakes. The Hornets are 7th in the NBA in assists with 23.5 per game, but they turn the ball over only 12 times a game, which ties them for 1st. Charlotte’s 1.96 assist-to-turnover ratio is 3rd in the league, but if the Thunder can create chaos for the Hornets and force them into mistakes, this will disrupt Charlotte’s rhythm and open up opportunities for Oklahoma City to turn defense into offense.
- Get to the Free Throw Line: The Hornets foul their opponents a league-low 16.7 times per game. Oklahoma City is one of the worst teams in the league at shooting free throws, making only 72.6% of their attempts from the charity stripe, but any points are good points. The Thunder should use their quickness and physical play-style to penetrate the paint and get to the free throw line if possible.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.