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Game 52 Preview: Oklahoma City at Minnesota

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

Time: 6:00 PM Central Standard Time

Place: The Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

TV: Fox Sports Net Oklahoma

Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1)

Enemy Blog(s): Peachtree Hoops, Twolves Blog, Howlin' T-Wolf

Backstory: After an extremely exciting game against the Knicks, tonight, we get a little bit of a break against the lowly Timberwolves. There's really not a whole lot to say about these guys. They did come close to beating us in our one previous meeting, and they'll probably do the same tonight. They're going to (yet again) adjust their game to play us small, with lots of drives to the basket. Still, I don't have a lot of reason to think that the Thunder will lose. They're a bottom of the barrel NBA team in terms of talent, and the debut of Darko Milicic tonight isn't going to change that.

Below: Matchups, Prediction

Matchups:

Center: Nenad Krstic vs. Ryan Hollins

I don't think that Hollins will get a lot of minutes in this game, but if he does, Krstic could definitely dominate this guy. In scoring, in the boards, hell, even in defense. Hollins belongs in the D-League more than anything else. He'll get a few points, maybe a rebound.

Power Forward: Jeff Green vs. Al Jefferson

Last Time, Al Jefferson feasted inside,but he was playing center. Green had a decent game, but didn't shoot that well. If Jefferson does spend time at PF, expect Green to have a horrible game. If he shifts to center, expect Green to have a decent game. Either way, expect Jefferson to have an excellent game.

Small Forward: Kevin Durant vs. Ryan Gomes

Last time, KD faced off against Damien Wilkins. Now, he' going up against Ryan Gomes, who is a tier higher and can be considered an average Shooting Guard. Still, he's not going to slow KD down. Expect KD to continue his 25 point streak, and expect Gomes to have a slightly above-average game.

Shooting Guard: Thabo Sefolosha vs. Corey Brewer

Corey Brewer scores a lot on the inside, and last time Thabo didn't have much success in guarding him. Expect that trand to continue tonight.

Point Guard: Russell Westbrook vs. Jonny Flynn

Russell Westbrook shut down Flynn on defense last time, limiting him to very poor shooting. But, by the same token, it was turnover city for Westbrook, as he had 7. I'd expect both Point Guards to have a better game tonight.

Battle of the Benches:

The Timberwolves will have Kevin Love and Darko Milicic coming off of the bench, but I wouldn't expect to see a lot of both. If the Timberwolves try to play traditional basketball against us, they know they'll be crushed. So off of the bench, we'll most likely see a lot of crappy guards (including old friend, Damien Wilkins!).

Coaching and Intangibles:

Kurt Rambis is a good coach, as exemplified by the sheer fact that he's been able to get his team to 13 wins.And the Timberwolves are at home. But, I still don't see those two factors coming into play, as the Thunder are a miuch better team.

Bottom Line:

There's basically two ways in which this game can unfold. The Timberwolves can come out and play traditional basketball so they can get a feel for Milicic, knowing very well they'll get destroyed. They might go with this, just because when they're that far down in the standings, winning doesn't really matter. But, if they still want to win, they'll use their drive to the basket with a bunch of small guards and a big man strategy. The one will get them close to winning, but it would take a lot of Thunder errors in order for them to win.

Prediction: Thunder 100, Timberwolves 95

How do you think the game will go? Vote in the Poll!

And, again, feel free to drop any comments you might have during, before, or after the game below. I'll be in the Ford Center cheering the team on, but I'll be back to write a recap later tonight. Go Thunder!

Poll

Who's going to win tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 93%
    The Oklahoma City Thunder
    (31 votes)
  • 6%
    The Minnesota Timberwolves
    (2 votes)
33 votes total Vote Now