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Thunder vs Hawks preview: OKC looks to avoid letdown against Atlanta

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The Thunder have struggled against lottery teams all season and this game has all the earmarks of a trap.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder take on the Atlanta Hawks tonight at Chesapeake Energy Arena at 7 p.m. cst. The game is the front end of a back to back against a team sitting dead last in the league. The Thunder have played some of their worst games against weak teams and sit just 1 and 4 against teams likely headed for the lottery this June.

With a rematch against Western Conference Utah just over 24 hours away this game has all the signs of a trap game and screams out a famous line from the old TV series, Lost in Space,


You gotta be old to remember this one.

After being throttled by 28 points Wednesday night and putting only 79 points on the scoreboard, a depleted Jazz team will be looking for redemption at Vivint Smart Home Arena tomorrow. In order to win both end of a back-to-back for the first time this season, the Thunder must avoid a letdown after a big win and accommodate an Atlanta team geared toward earning the number one pick in the upcoming draft as early as possible and then sit as many starters as they can in the 4th quarter in preparation for the late flight and the physical battle they can expect from a Utah squad looking for a taste of revenge.

The Hawks starting PG, Dennis Schroder, is listed as questionable while the Thunder come into the contest injury free. If Schroder is unable to go it eliminates a 19.4 pts/gm threat but the Thunder don’t want to let their perimeter defensive guard down. The Hawks are a top ten team from beyond the arc and take almost a third of their shots from distance.

The Thunder should have a decided edge in rebounding and against a team that ranks in the top ten for putting opponents on the line and in the bottom three for giving up offensive rebounds, OKC should attack the paint relentlessly.


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