Thunder To Keep Rolling Tonight At Charlotte?
CHARLOTTE — I’m not a betting man, and I generally make it a point to not get into game-to-game predictions.
But there are so many things that have lined up for the Thunder that I can’t help but think OKC will continue rolling tonight during its lone pit stop in Charlotte. (See what I did there? I’m in NASCAR country.)
The Thunder is walking into Time Warner Cable Arena at what seems to be the perfect time.
Charlotte, at 24-8, is one of the league’s best teams at home this season. In their home building, the Bobcats have knocked off Cleveland (twice), Denver, San Antonio, Phoenix, Miami (twice) and the Los Angeles Lakers. But the Bobcats will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back and didn’t get home until early Wednesday morning from their 99-94 loss at Indiana on Tuesday night. Even though the Bobcats are a respectable 9-8 in the second game of back-to-backs, tonight’s game is their third in a five-game-in-seven-day stretch, and this is the only home game in that span.
Add to that, Charlotte could be without leading rebounder and second leading scorer Gerald Wallace, an All-Star this season who has missed the past two games with an injured ankle. Charlotte’s point guards, Raymond Felton and D.J. Augustin, also are coming off terrible outings. The two combined for 10 points on 3-for-10 shooting with seven assists against old pal Earl Watson and rookie backup A.J. Price. That sets the table for Russell Westbrook to again annihilate the Bobcats’ backcourt.
The Thunder, meanwhile, comes to town on a five-game winning streak and confident it can win on the road thanks to a 19-13 mark away from the Ford Center. Oklahoma City also has built a 19-6 record against Eastern Conference teams and can make Charlotte the seventh team it has swept this season.
Kevin Durant vs. Stephen Jackson
With Gerald Wallace likely out, much of the load will fall on Jackson’s shoulders on both ends of the court. In addition to being the primary option for Charlotte’s offense, Jackson also might be looked to as the guy who needs to try to slow down Durant.
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