Game: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Charlotte Hornets
Time: 7PM CST
Location: Chesapeake Arena, OKC
The Thunder take on the Hornets tonight at home, and for the second time in 2018. The Thunder took the first game between the two teams in early November, surging back from a 19 point second half deficit to win on the road. Since then, the Hornets have continued to improve, with All-Star Kemba Walker leading the way.
The Thunder will once again face the challenge of being shorthanded, as Hamidou Diallo and Terrance Ferguson are both out with ankle sprains, and Alex Abrines is iffy after having missed the last three due to illness. Nerlens Noel suffered a facial laceration but is expected to play, and Russell Westbrook is active, but not back to his full capabilities after having suffered a high ankle sprain.
The Thunder established a good pattern early on against the Warriors, using Steven Adams inside and Paul George and Dennis Schroder on the perimeter to take down Golden State. Look for OKC to work to establish the same pattern, particularly with the second unit, as backup PG Tony Parker will not be playing tonight due to a rib contusion.
Success tonight will come down to how well OKC is active in defending the perimeter, as the Hornets can get hot from downtown, and playing at their own pace. In their win earlier this month, the Thunder had a clear plan to deal with Walker, and they will need to do so again. Just don’t forget about one man...
Who do you think will win tonight?
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