Game: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Washington Wizards
Time: 6PM CST
Location: Chesapeake Arena, OKC
Counterpart: Bullets Forever
The Thunder return home tonight after a big win Friday against division rivals the Trail Blazers. Their reward? A visit from former OKC coach Scott Brooks and the Wizards.
Washington has faced some adversity this season, both in terms of frustrated lack of continuity after a solid playoff performance last year, as well as the injury bug. Tonight they will be without their All-Star point guard John Wall, in addition to center Dwight Howard and forward Markieff Morris.
Meanwhile, the Thunder are still without Alex Abrines, who continues to be out of action due to personal reasons. In his stead, look for Abdel Nader to get minutes, as his contribution continues to be meaningful. Even during last game where he failed to score, Nader still had opportunities to both put pressure on the Blazers defense with his dribble-drive as well as aided the 2nd unit that helped gain control of the game.
The Thunder will look to primarily contain Bradley Beal tonight, who is currently averaging 24ppg off of nearly 38% shooting from the floor. Swirling around Beal however are trade rumors, as the Wiz may be looking to rebuild in the near future.
Without Howard in the middle, look for the Thunder to establish Steven Adams early in the contest. He has of late not gotten the same number of offensive touches, but earlier in the season was a frequently 1st quarter option. Also, the Thunder will seek to control the offensive glass, particularly if their perimeter offense continues to sputter.
The Thunder should theoretically have an easier time tonight, but that means it is clearly a trap game; where if they don’t perform to their defensive potential and establish control early, some hot shooting from Beal and company, combined with the usual suspects of bad 3-point shooting and lazy offense, could turn this into a game requiring similar 4th quarter focus to that which they faced in Portland.
Who do you think will win tonight?
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