Game 80 Preview: Oklahoma City vs. Golden State

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This also counts as an open thread, so feel free to post your thoughts during the game here.

When: 8 p.m.

Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, Calif.

TV: FS Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD Ch. 722).

Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM

Enemy Blog(s): Golden State of Mind



Northwest Standings

W L PCT GB STRK
Denver 52 28 .650 0 Lost 1
Utah 52 28 .650 0 Won 1
Oklahoma City 49 30 .620 2.5 Won 1
Portland 48 31 .607 3.5 Lost 1
Minnesota 15 64 .189 36.5 Lost 4

(updated 4.11.2010 at 12:11 PM PDT)



Backstory: The Thunder are trying to reach 50 wins for the first time in five years. Up to stop them are a dangerous, but not-so-deadly Warriors team. In the season matchup, the Thunder are going for a sweep -- it's probably fair to say that the odds at this point are on their [OKC's] side. However, if the Thunder go about defending whimsically, this is going to turn into an ugly shootout. If we've learned anything from the past week, it this: the Thunder aren't so great when they allow opposing teams to shoot 50 percent from the field. The Warriors have the basic goal of salvaging as many of their remaining games (and pride) as possible. The Thunder are trying to close that gap with the Suns in the standings. Both teams will no doubt come out and play hard, but there's just a little more motivation to do well (and ability) on the side of the Thunder.

Matchups: Same stuff as before ... except not exactly. Here's what we have:

Projected starters (NewsOK)

Thunder (49-30)
Pos. Player Ht. Pts. Reb. Ast
G Russell Westbrook 6-3 16.2 4.8 8.1
G Thabo Sefolosha 6-7 5.9 4.7 1.8
F Kevin Durant 6-9 30.0 7.6 2.8
F Jeff Green 6-9 15.1 6.1 1.6
C Nenad Krstic 7-0 8.4 5.0 0.7
Warriors (24-54)
Pos. Player Ht. Pts. Reb. Ast
G Stephen Curry 6-3 16.9 4.3 5.9
G Corey Maggette 6-6 20.0 5.4 2.4
F Reggie Williams 6-6 14.9 4.1 2.7
F Anthony Tolliver 6-9 12.0 6.8 2.0
C Ronny Turiaf 6-10 5.0 4.8 2.1

Delete Krstic and put in Ibaka. Not exactly all that troubling for the Thunder when Krstic's replacement puts up 15 points and 9 boards in that Friday game. On the other hand Turiaf just isn't as good of a rebounder as his tools would suggest, and he's a worse defender than Biedrins is. However, he does share nearly as limited an offensive repertoire. If Maggette really is going to square off against Thabo, that could be troubling -- as we've noted time and time again, the slasher/free-throw types do much better against Thabo than the perimeter shooters. Williams is solid, but his defense isn't the sort that's going to disrupt Durant to any degree. Think of him as a combo guard/forward placeholder.

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