This also counts as an open thread, so feel free to post your thoughts during the game here.
Time: 6:00 PM Central Standard Time
Place: The Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
TV: Fox Sports Net Oklahoma, The Sports Network 2
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1), The FAN 590
Previous Meeting(s): None.
Remember the last time we played a terrible Eastern Conference team? Yeah, it went to Triple-OT. And, if I were my normal self, I would talk about how the Raptor's record has been bolstered by playing the 76ers twice, and the wins over Orlando and Boston were flukes.
But no! Not this time. Even though this team is horribly inconsistent, they could show up in top form tonight and decide to destroy us.
Who are the catalysts? Well, Andrea Bargnani is scoring 20 Points Per Game and trying to live up to being the #1 Pick. And, aside from him, it truly has been a team effort. Like most European national teams I saw over the summer (Lithuania in particular), they rely on their entire team to score, with certain players getting hot on certain nights. Reggie Evans is out with foot surgery for them, and Peja Stojakovic is to be announced with a swollen left knee.
Below: Durant is Out, How the Game Will Go, Prediction!
More importantly for us though, Kevin Durant will be out tonight with he own knee problems. With the success of Green moving down to SF and filling a Durant-like role for the team, I'd expect him to do the same tonight, with D.J. White picking up the extra minutes in one of the big man slots.
Mainly, the Thunder will have to watch out for the endless picks and attacking of the basket that is sure to come from players like Amir Johnson and Jose Calderon. Additionally, they'll have to watch for the Krstic like pick and pop from Bargnani, and be sure to shut down potential offensive explosions coming from guys like Demar DeRozan. Since we'll be utilizing a larger lineup tonight (Ibaka and Krstic are likely to start with Collison and White in waiting) and since the Raptors don't have a lot of bigs the like to push you around, the Thunder should have no problem shutting down the paint. Hopefully Thabo can close out on the shooting of DeRozan.
It's nice to see a team playing the Euro style in the NBA, but I think the Thunder are suited to take this one.
Prediction: Oklahoma City 105, Toronto 101.