As quickly as the season got started in Ford Center, it feels like its coming to an end even quicker. It seems like just yesterday I was driving down to OKC for my first Thunder game in late November. But its been more than a day since then, and tonight, the Oklahoma City Thunder will be playing their 41st and final home game of the 2008-09 season. Its been an up and down year for the Thunder to say the least, but when playing at home, they definitely experienced more ups than when they hit the road. You can chalk that up to any number of things, but I'm going to chalk that up to all of you, the fans. We named this site "Welcome to Loud City" for a reason, and tonight, you'll get one final chance to show an opposing team why. That team, is the Charlotte Bobcats, who will get their first taste of Loud City this season, tonight.
The Bobcats head into tonights game having concluded their home schedule, and this matchup against the Thunder marks the first of 4 road games to close out the season. Believe it or not, the Bobcats are still in the playoff hunt, even with their 35-43 overall record. They trail the Pistons by 3 games, and the Bulls by 3.5 games with 4 these four road games yet to play. For the Bobcats, this game is a must win to keep their season alive, because if they can't get a win against the Thunder, its not likely that they'll be able to finish with enough wins since they still have yet to face the Bulls, Nets, and Magic....all on the road.
I'm sure by now you've heard about "Be Loud, Be Proud, Wear Thunder Blue," but if you haven't, click that link and you get my full take on what the Thunder are trying to do tonight, and what I feel we should do for every home game. If you are going to the game, make sure you give it a quick read. You don't want to look like an idiot when you show up tonight do you? No, I didn't think so.
So back to the preview. For our last home game this season, I have several things that I would love to see tonight. First and foremost is a Thunder win, and if you like drama and exciting basketball, how about a 3 point buzzer beater shot to win by Kevin Durant, giving the Thunder a 1 point win. Yeah, that would be first on the list. The next thing I want to see is one of those insane RW0 dunks we've become so accustomed to seeing this season, and hey, he might as well complete it with a loud yell and a slap to the backboard. That was easily my favorite dunk of the season, and was also RW0's first ever technical foul. You are going to want to click that link if you didn't see that earlier this season. Shaun Livingston said in an interview the other day that he was dying to dunk over someone during a game, so that'd be third on my list. In the end though, I'm just hoping for an exciting game, a crazy crowd, and a Thunder win. If those three things happen, I'll be a happy camper.
Heading into this game the Bobcats may have lost 3 of their last four, but before that they rattled off three wins in a row, and 6 wins in 8 games. So they have been playing pretty well as of late, which as we all can attest, is something the Thunder haven't been doing much of during that same stretch. Losers of 4 in a row, 7 of 8, and 6 consecutive home losses, the Thunder definitely have their work cut out for them if they want to send the fans home for the summer with a win. Of course we don't want to think about losing our last home game, but if that does indeed happen, the Thunder will still have a couple of decent chances at another win over their final three games, with the best chance coming as they close out the season in Los Angeles against the Clippers.
As a team, there is nobody that stands out as the one guy you have to stop when playing the Bobcats, but the closest thing to that for the Thunder tonight will probably be Emeka Okafor since he averages double digits on the glass. The Thunder tend to fair much better when they win the battle of the boards, and if they can keep Emeka off of them tonight, it will certainly help their chances. Other than that, they just have a bunch of guys, any of which can contribute on any given night. Its hard to focus on any one player, so hopefully the Thunder will just focus on playing intense in your face defense.
Well, have fun tonight, its going to be awhile before you get experience this again! Don't forget to wear your Thunder Blue tonight, and for the love of Thunder, BE LOUD all night long. Lets leave the league with a lasting impression as to why they call it "Loud City."
For the opponent perspective: Go get Loud over at Rufus on Fire