Time: 7:00 PM Central Daylight Time
Place: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
TV: Fox Sports Net Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1)
Previous Meeting(s): Dec 18th Oklahoma City 106, Dallas 92
The Thunder wrap up the abridged preseason with their seventh straight game against the Mavs tonight. One final test run the regular season starts on Christmas.
Both Dirk Nowitizki and Jason Kidd are expected to return to the lineup tonight. Which means the leading scorers from the first game, Dominique Jones and Rodrigue Beaubois, will play smaller roles in this game. As I stated in my last preview, one thing to keep an eye is how the Thunder handle Dirk defensive. Last season they had no answer for the Finals MVP.
The starters were limited to 24 minutes on Sunday. Expect that to increase tonight, but not by much. I wouldn’t count on anyone playing over 30 minutes tonight. With that being said, tonight may be the last time we see either Cole Aldrich or Reggie Jackson. With the 10 man rotation returning, and Lazar Hayward likely to take the 11th spot, only one more spot remains on the active roster. The odd man out will likely be sent to the D-League. My guess is the Thunder will keep Aldrich on active duty.
The Thunder stuck with the same starting five Sunday that they ended last season with. If they stick with Thabo tonight, it indicates that Scott Brooks would like to keep the status quo entering this year. James Harden will have to wait to wait a while before becoming part of the first time.
The Thunder are at home and with a full lineup. I don’t expect the dominating performance we saw on Sunday. However, I still think the Thunder win this one and go undefeated in the preseason.
Unfortunately, sweeping in the preseason doesn’t mean anything.
Prediction: Oklahoma City 101, Dallas 94.