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: Amway Arena, Orlando, Florida
TV: Entertainment Sports Programming Network, Fox Sports Net Oklahoma, Fox Sports Net Florida
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1), AM 580 WDBO
Previous Meeting(s): Jan 13
So, are you psyched?
Ready to see Kendrick Perkins dominate the paint? Nate Robinson do some amazing dunks? Nazr Mohammed come off the bench? Well, too bad! You'll have to wait until Sunday for that, and even longer when it comes to Kendrick Perkins. Tonight, the short-handed Thunder will be taking on the mighty Orlando Magic.
What does our roster look like? Well, we have Westbrook, Sefolosha, Durant, Ibaka, Collison, Harden, Maynor, and Cook. You'll notice that this leaves us with no backup big men, so Cole Aldrich and B.J. Mullens will likely see playing time, or the Thunder will play very small.
The problem with the back of big men is that we are playing against the team with arguably the best center in the league, Dwight Howard. He won't feast upon our lack of depth, since he plays limited minutes, but should he be in the game while Aldrich is also down in the post, it can't spell anything but bad news.
Sadly, the big performer in our last win against the Magic was Nenad Krstic, who offset Howard's points in the paint with many jumpers of his own. Fortunately, most of Dwight's points were fueled by the highest free throw percentage he's had all season when shooting more than 5 until two nights ago, so he' unlikely to replicate his 39 point performance.
In order to win, the Thunder need to minimize mistakes and get great offensive production out of Durant, Westbrook, and Harden. With Green and Ibaka gone, it leaves the Thunder with less options on offense, and will probably lead to them relying on their star players making more plays.
Prediction: Orlando 111, Oklahoma City 100