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Thunder vs Cavaliers preview and gamethread: OKC, sans Westbrook, looks to make it 6 in a row

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The Cavs have been struggling, but can OKC maintain its high level of performance?

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Game: Oklahoma City Thunder at Cleveland Cavaliers

Time: 7PM CST

Location: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland OH

Broadcast: FSOK

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The Thunder are back in action tonight in the first game of a back-to-back. Even as they face the 1-9 Cavaliers, tonight’s outcome remains uncertain do the loss of Russell Westbrook, who sprained his left ankle during the Thunder’s win over the Pelicans. This now means OKC has to go into another stretch of games without last year’s starting backcourt, as Andre Roberson remains on the shelf for the foreseeable future.

As the Thunder seek to take their winning streak to 6 games (after an 0-4 start), tonight’s game will require the kind of focus they did not have early on, but as of late has been rounding into form. To compete and control a struggling team like the Cavs, it is imperative for the Thunder defense to do 2 things:

  1. Don’t give up 2nd chance points
  2. Don’t leave shooters open

Oh and probably throw in this constant theme of committing lazy fouls and missing free throws.

Steven Adams vs Tristan Thompson will be a big man bash to watch, as they perform similar roles. Meanwhile, Dennis Schroder played well filling in for Westbrook, but Ray Felton, now the de facto backup PG, tends to do a little too much “pounding the rock” and so the bench unit, which has played well through October, will need to remain at their level of consistency.

OKC would do well to avoid trying to throw the early knockout punch, but simply look at the data. When third quarters roll around, they wreck other teams. If they set themselves up early, look for this pattern to continue.

Poll

Who do you think will win tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 91%
    Thunder
    (32 votes)
  • 8%
    Cavaliers
    (3 votes)
35 votes total Vote Now