This also counts as an open thread, so feel free to post your thoughts during the game here.
Records: The Oklahoma City Thunder (36-22) vs. The Indiana Pacers (27-32)
Time: 7:00 PM Central Standard Time
Place: The New Myriad, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
TV: Fox Sports Net Oklahoma, Fox Sports Net Indiana
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1), 1070 AM ESPN The Fan
Enemy Blog(s): Indy Cornrows, Eight Points, Nine Seconds
Previous Meeting(s): Nov. 26th
We, as Thunder fans, have now hit the stone cold reality of our trades at the deadline. Perkins is injury prone, and Mohammed and Robinson are going to take time to work into the starting rotation. Essentially, until they are worked into the lineup, it's like the Thunder are trying to make ends meet without Green and Krstic.
I'm not saying that Robinson and Mohammed won't play (all they had been through prior to the Lakers game was a shootaround), and I'm not saying that Cook and Aldrich aren't capable backups. But, without Green and Krstic, the Thunder have becomes much more inconsistent offensively. We become much more reliant on the three with Harden and Cook, and we hardly ever run any more pick n' pop or midrange plays. This pays huge dividends when the Thunder are shooting well, but it leaves a lot of pressure on Durant and Westbrook when everyone else falls cold.
Fortunately, tonight's opponents are the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers aren't anything to sneeze at, and are still making a run for the playoffs in the East. They beat the Warriors in Indiana last night, and generally beat the opponents they're supposed to beat. But still, they are below the NBA average when it comes to talent, and are pretty beatable when it comes right down to it.
The main problem for the Thunder tonight will be the low post combo of Hibbert and McRoberts. Usually, Granger and Collison will get their points, but Hibbert and McRoberts will be the X-Factors that could push the Pacers over the hump and give them a victory. The Thunder aren't very good at dealing with big man combos, as evidenced by Hibbert and McRoberts combined 32 points against us last time and Gasol and Bynum's combined 33 points against us last Sunday. But what's even more worrying are Ibaka and Collison's combined point totals for the last two games. 11 on Sunday, and 13 on Friday. That's a lot of scoring the backcourt has to make up.
Given that this is the second game of a back-to-back for the Pacers and that it's at home, I'll give the Thunder a narrow win. But wins like this might be looked back on fondly if our scoring doesn't get more consistent.
Prediction: Oklahoma City 99, Indiana 95