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, SportSouth
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1), WFNZ SportsRadio the Fan (610 AM)
Previous Meeting(s): Dec. 21 (Thunder Leads Season Series 1-0)
Though you may have forgotten it, the Thunder traded D.J. White and the now teamless Morris Peterson to the Charlotte Bobcats for Nazr Mohammed. While Nazr Mohammed is a serviceable big man here and does his job well, the Bobcats have enjoyed D.J. White's presence. He has set career highs in points and rebounds, and was a huge part of their March 11th win over Portland. By and large though, the Bobcats have fallen flat since the All-Star break. They're still defensively sound and hold their opponents to low point totals, but their offense is atrocious. Trading away the last original Bobcat and second leading scorer, Gerald Wallace, to the Trail Blazers hasn't helped out matters.
They also suffer from a general lack of talent. Their bench is deep and as good as any other in the NBA, but their best starter is Stephen Jackson, a player who sits in the middle of the pack in terms of NBA Small Forwards. Boris Diaw is a nice defensive player and D.J. Augustin is a nice combo guard, but Kwame Brown is mediocre at best and Gerald Henderson is probably in the bottom five in terms of starting SGs.
The Thunder are fresh off of their amazing win against the Miami Heat, and are on a five game win streak heading into this game. This game will be extremely ugly, now that the Thunder are much more defensively sound with Perkins and Mohammed. But since the Thunder have no trouble getting inside against other defensive teams, there will be a point where the Bobcats simply have no answer on offense. The only way I could see them winning this game is if Stephen Jackson gets really hot from the perimeter, and if they find some way through Perkins and Ibaka. Otherwise, this team is screwed.
Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder 92, Charlotte Bobcats 71