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, Cox Sports Television
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1), KMEZ 106.7-FM
As Oklahoma City is covered in one of the thickest blankets of snow in recent memory, the Thunder prepare to take on one of their fiercest rivals in recent memory. The New Orleans Hornets are in their fourth year away from Oklahoma City, and the cheers for their team have long gone. But as their tenure here fades into irrelevance, exciting games between two great teams begin to take it's place.
Since the Hornets iced the Thunder with a clutch shot from David West, they've gone 2-2. They extended their previous win streak to 10 by beating the Warriors, but dropped two to the Kings and Suns before getting a win against the Wizards on Tuesday. The Hornets are on the second night of a back-to-back, and dealing with injury to Emeka Okafor.
Okafor is definitely out for tonight, leaving the Hornets to rely on Jason Smith and D.J. Mbenga. Two alright backup centers, but as starters, they don't provide a whole lot. Yeah, Smith had 20 points against the Wizards, but anybody can score on Blatche, and he only had 5 rebounds. It's the interior defense of the Hornets that I'm worried about, and without Okafor, the Thunder are going to be able to score at a much better rate.
Needless to say, this is a big game for the Thunder. We haven't beaten a over .500 team since the Magic on January 13th, and having a 3-1 advantage over the Hornets could be huge when it comes to playoff positioning. The Thunder need to prove themselves as a four seed, and, above all, stay on top of the Northwest division. The Thunder should be able to win this one, but with the way they've played lately, you just never know.
Prediction: Oklahoma City 95, New Orleans 90