Time: 7PM CST
Location: Chesapeake Arena, Oklahoma City, OKC
The Thunder take on the remade Cavaliers tonight in OKC in what should be a far more competitive game than the last time these two teams matched up. In that game, Kevin Love sat with a headache, Tyronn Lue looked to was rapidly approaching the unemployment line, and LeBron James compared the final outcome to a video game.
This time out should be far different, as James, now equipped with a newly staffed team thanks to an insane trade deadline session, will tackle the hot and cold Thunder who, in a rare oddity, actually played well against a lottery team last time out (sans two players).
However, even with new talent George Hill, Larry Nance Jr., Rodney Hood, and Jordan Clarkson, this game, just like every other game this season, will come down to OKC’s general approach. Will they come out focused and attentive on defense? Will Russell Westbrook utilize his advantages, even if he may still be nursing a sore ankle, or will he jump shoot his way to a 8-28 night? Will Paul George go passive with the return of Westbrook and possibly Carmelo Anthony, or will he continue his February assault on the league? Will Melo be all right or, if his shot is not falling, will Billy Donovan have the gravitas to sit him in exchange for Patrick Patterson? Will Steven Adams avoid foul trouble and dominate the middle?
OKC has an opportunity tonight, but also a threat. Last night, the Jazz beat the Spurs, bringing OKC to within 2 games of San Antonio. But there’s a catch, too. it also brought the Jazz, now winners of 10 straight, to within 3 games of the Thunder, and three teams — the Trail Blazers, Nuggets, and Pelicans — are within one in the loss column. The upper echelon isn’t far away, but neither is the dregs.
Who do you think will win tonight?
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