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2013-2014 Game 14 Preview: Thunder Seek Revenge Vs. Warriors

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The Dubs are without Iguodala, but they still possess some serious advantages....

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
2013-2014 NBA Season
Lost 1

Won 5
November 29th, 2013
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
7:00 PM CST
TV: National Basketball Association Television, Fox Sports Network Oklahoma, Comcast Sports Network Bay Area
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM/640 AM), KNBR 680 AM
Injury Report: Andre Iguodala (Out), Toney Douglas (Out), Festus Ezeli (Out), Ognjen Kuzmic (Out)
Previous Matchups: Nov 14 (Warriors Lead Season Series 1-0)
Probable Starters
Stephen Curry PG Russell Westbrook
Klay Thompson SG Thabo Sefolosha
Harrison Barnes SF Kevin Durant
David Lee PF Serge Ibaka
Andrew Bogut C Kendrick Perkins
2013/14 Advanced Stats
98.8 (10th) Pace 99.4 (T-7th)
102.6 (10th) ORtg 103.6 (9th)
97.9 (5th) DRtg 96.8 (4th)

The good news: Andre Iguodala will not play tonight. In case you don't remember, he had a 14 point and 9 assist game against the Thunder about two weeks ago, and hit a game-sealing buzzer beating shot with no time left on the clock.

He's not the Warriors' only problem, though. Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut have battled injuries and suspensions, leaving the Warriors short-handed in almost every game they've played recently. It took a resurrection of Jermaine O'Neal's offensive game to give them the victory over the Pelicans a couple of days ago, and they lost a close one to the Mavericks on Wednesday.

When the Thunder played the Warriors last, a major issue was three point shooting. The Warriors were able to nail 14 three pointers in the first three quarters of the game, and shot a ridiculously high 60% overall. Our own KevinHFY broke down the Dubs three point shooting during that game in a post, if you're interested. My opinion on the matter is that the Thunder just needed to communicate on defense more, as well as take care of the weak side. The Warriors will swing the ball around the court all day, and you've got to be ready to close out on shooters.

However, with the injuries of Iguodala and Douglas, the Warriors are having serious ballhandling issues, so the Thunder will likely look to pressure and trap the heck out of them tonight. This leaves the Thunder open to getting dominated by the three again, but I'm not too worried. Why? Well, the Warriors are relying on Klay Thompson and rookie Nemanja Nedovic for ballhandling duties, and neither situation has worked out swimmingly. Moreover, Curry is averaging 4.5 turnovers over the past four games, so it's apparent that something's going wrong in that area.

My estimation would be that the loss of Iguodala has robbed Golden State of their main isolation threat and defense-sucking presence. Last year, that guy was Jarrett Jack, and he worked wonders when he was put alongside Curry in the fourth quarter. Iguodala possesses, more or less, the same skillset as Jack, so it makes sense that he'd also work well with Curry. Appropriately, during the three games that Jack missed last season, the team averaged 16.7 Turnovers, well over their usual 14.8 average.

Putting aside their turnover problems, the Warriors have had a few individual slumps as well. Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes fluctuate wildly between good and bad nights, shooting anywhere from 30-75%. This was a problem for both of these players last season, but with less supporting talent around them due to injuries, it's been a more major issue this season.

However, one thing that likely won't stay in the Thunder's favor is the rebounding battle. The Thunder were superior in both the offensive and defensive categories during these teams' last matchup. But despite the Thunder's good rebounding differential, rebounding can be an issue, and it was a serious factor in their loss to the Clippers. Furthermore, the Warriors have been able to keep up with (and exceed) with their opponents rebounding totals in recent games, despite their recent slide. So I would expect the Warriors to do the same tonight.

Still, the Thunder are the odds on favorite. A forgotten factor in mid-November's loss was the lack of Kendrick Perkins, who was attending his grandfather's funeral in Texas. This led to the Thunder going small for a good portion of the game, and forced them to give minutes to Hasheem Thabeet. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Perk could have won the game for us (though he certainly could have against LA), but his presence is always a definite plus in my book.

Anyway, I always love seeing my two favourite teams go at it, and tonight's game will be extremely Slammin', so you should definitely Czech it out! The Thunder should be able to seal this one when Crunch time rolls around, but with how well the Warriors can shoot threes, who knows?

Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder 99, Golden State Warriors 93.

What do you think about tonight's game? Let us know in the comments!