Anthony Davis is a game time decision tonight when New Orleans visits Oklahoma City. He, like Russell Westbrook, is a player who is going to get points no matter what, but he isn’t the guy that’ll power an upset in Bricktown tonight. That tag belongs to Nikola Mirotic.
On the contrary, not only is Russell Westbrook the guy you can always count on for points, he’s also the guy the Thunder will need to ride to their fifth consecutive win. The proof in this is found in the stats.
OKC’s defensive weak spot is against the small forward position. On average the Thunder nearly giving up a double-double to the position (24 points/9.3 rebounds), ranking them among the bottom teams in the league against the position. Enter Mirotic, a stretch forward who can score inside or outside on teams.
Nikola Mirotic and-1! #DoItBig
15 PTS in the 1st half for Mirotic on League Pass pic.twitter.com/tVkzC8IeCU
— NBA (@NBA) November 1, 2018
Nearly the perfect compliment to Davis, Mirotic is averaging 22.4 points and 10.9 points per game through the first nine games of the season. The availability of Davis, or lack of, will change the way OKC defends Mirotic but it goes without saying the task becomes taller if Davis is on the floor.
Meanwhile, New Orleans is near the worst in the league against the point guard position. The Pelicans are giving up an average of 30.75 points per game to the position and are about to face the scoring machine known as Russell Westbrook. On average opposing point guards average 4.5 made three point attempts against New Orleans, and dish out 8.5 assists.
Russell Westbrook with the monster two-hand dunk ⛈ pic.twitter.com/ZjntTW0DBJ
— NBA highlights (@Hoops_Plug) November 2, 2018
Russ enters tonight’s game averaging 25.3 points, 8.8 assists, and 8.5 rebounds per game. He has scored a season-high 32 points on two occasions this season. He did it in his debut against Sacramento on October 21st and again against the Clippers on October 30th. I’m going to go ahead and predict that tonight will be a new season high in scoring for the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week.