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Thunder vs Pacers preview: family reunion tonight as George, Sabonis, Oladipo congregate at the ‘Peake

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PG13 welcomes his old team to OKC, while his trade-mates look to showcase what the Thunder gave away.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

After losing two straight games, the Oklahoma City Thunder are trying to get back on track against the Indiana Pacers. Despite having a 1-2 record, OKC still expresses optimism about moving forward in the right direction to start the season.

  • Venue: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City
  • Date: October 25
  • Time: 8:00 PM EDT

This will be the first time the Thunder play against the Pacers this season. This is not a regular game---just as Carmelo Anthony did on opening night vs the Knicks, Paul George is welcoming his former team to his new arena and home.

Not only is this George’s family reunion, but Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis are coming back to Oklahoma City as well. In their return, they will try to prove that Sam Presti made the wrong decision on trading them. Oladipo is doing a fantastic job in scoring the ball in Indiana, averaging 22.3 points and shooting 35.3 percent from three in three games. Averaging just 6 more minutes in Indiana than OKC, Sabonis is shooting efficiently and rebounding the ball in a big way, averaging 12.3 points on 63.6 percent shooting with 9 rebounds per game. Despite Oladipo and Sabonis’ improvements, the Pacers are going to have their ups and downs against the NBA’s best teams.

In order to get out this game with a W, OKC needs to get George going early in the game. So far, PG13 is taking threes like he’s Stephen Curry, averaging 10 attempts per game to start the season,only converting 33.3 percent. George told Royce Young of ESPN.

In this game, OKC priority should get George to feel more comfortable on the floor and find easy baskets to take the pressure off his jumper.

What To Watch?

  • Paul George vs Indiana Defense

George will be facing the Pacers defense for the first time. Just like with Carmelo Anthony, this could turn into a ‘revenge game,’ but George is at an all-time low in field goal percentage and looking to get back on track against his former team. George is averaging 21.3 points per game but has struggled with his shot.

The Pacers defense will determine their success this year. In the first 4 games, the Pacers are giving up an average of 116 points per outing.

Thunder News, Notes, Stats

  • With just three games in, the Thunder is having trouble rebounding the ball, which means there’s not a lot of transition opportunities and second chance points. According to Erik Horne of NewsOK, the Thunder is averaging 28.3 defensive rebounds per game, which is shockingly last in the league for a team that has been one of the best rebounding teams over the past 2 seasons. Head coach Billy Donovan is aware of the bad defensive and offensive rebounding:

Per NewsOK:

“That late play that Wiggins made the offensive rebound […] the shot went up and we were kinda in rotation,” Donovan said. “And the guy that we're currently guarding may not be the guy that we have to block out, and I think that's just something we're gonna need probably repetition at.”

  • Carmelo Anthony explains his shot selection to Fred Katz:
  • Justice is served for Steve Adams, the NBA has announced they’ve fined Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles 15K for making contact with Steven Adams’ groin.

Poll

Who do you think will win tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    Thunder
    (130 votes)
  • 14%
    Pacers
    (22 votes)
152 votes total Vote Now