This also counts as an open thread, so feel free to post your thoughts during the game here.
Time: 7:00 PM Central Standard Time
Place: The New Myriad, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
TV: Fox Sports Net Oklahoma, Madison Square Garden Network
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1), WEPN ESPN 1050
Previous Meeting(s): Dec. 22nd
This game is a test of gall as much as it is a test of worthiness. With the Mavericks, Hornets, and Jazz all knocking on the Thunder's door, if we lose this one, we could very quickly fall to the sixth seed in the West. And it's much harder to climb back up then it is to fall down.
There is good news here though. It's the first home game in 8 days for the Thunder, and the Knicks are in the middle of a
total collapse five game losing streak. There's no real logical reason for this as opposed to their earlier season success, but some might say it's because of their nature. As with the last preview, where I compared them to a McDLT, the Knicks can be hot or cold at any given time, and will beat good teams and lose to bad teams accordingly.
Their wins rely on Amare Stoudamire and at least one other player getting hot. This is certainly an achievable feat, but when those guys you're trying to get hot are Wilson Chandler and Raymond Felton, you're bound to have a few slip-ups. But, lets face it. Half of the guys on this roster are either guys I've hardly heard of or cast-offs from other NBA teams. The team plays much better than it's talent level, and it's a tribute to Mike D'Antoni's coaching that the pieces fit so well.
Tonight, I'd like to see the Thunder go back to last year's defensive strategy. We aren't going to beat the Knicks at their own game (fast breaks, mismatches, steals), so why not play some traditional basketball? We should also be careful to not provoke any runs, as that's what killed us last time in the first half. Overall, we should be able to win this one, as long as we stick to a gameplan, use our size to our advantage, and stop missing so many threes.
Prediction: Oklahoma City 118, New York 112