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Thunder vs Pacers, preview and gamethread: OKC has one final home stand to prove its quality

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The Thunder were stung at the buzzer last time around; can they make amends vs Indy tonight?

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Indiana Pacers Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Game: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Indiana Pacers

Time: 7PM CST

Location: Chesapeake Arena, OKC

Broadcast: FSOK, ESPN

Counterpart: Indy Cornrows

***

The Thunder welcome their recent vanquishers the Pacers to the ‘Peake tonight in a game where OKC is looking to avenge a last second loss to Indiana. If you recall, the Thunder were mostly in control over the Pacers during their last encounter, but a sluggish 3rd quarter, followed by them ushering the Pacers to the free throw line over and over again, led to a game-winning put-back shot by Wesley Matthews.

The Pacers have remarkably held strong despite the loss of Victor Oladipo this season, but they just finished an absolutely brutal Western Conference run where they lost to the Nuggets, Trail Blazers, Clippers, and Warriors in succession. They redeemed themselves somewhat by blowing out the Nuggets at home by 36 points.

During the Thunder’s recent slide, you can look to their play in the 2nd half of that collapse to the Pacers as a trigger. It sent OKC into a tailspin that they have yet to pull out of, and now are clinging to the 7th seed by a thread.

A strong start is critical for OKC tonight, but just as important, to not let up even if they are able to build an early lead (see: Miami Heat). Will the Thunder approach this game with the necessary level of concentration and desperation as the season winds down? Here’s one key element to look out for — watch how OKC chooses to defend Domantas Sabonis in the post.

Eight games left. Every single one matters.

Poll

Who do you think will win tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    Thunder
    (20 votes)
  • 35%
    Pacers
    (11 votes)
31 votes total Vote Now