Referring to the Thunder's next opponent as the New Orleans Pelicans might add a bit more intrigue to Wednesday's 7 p.m. contest at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Given what transpired in the season's first two meetings against the Thunder, the New Orleans franchise might want to move up its anticipated name change to Wednesday night rather than wait until the 2013-14 season just to have a fresh start against OKC.
Wednesday will mark the third time the Thunder (17-4) and Hornets (5-15) have played in the last 26 days.
OKC won the first two meetings by an average score of 105-87. The Thunder led by as many as 34 in the first game and 29 in the second. New Orleans' biggest lead was 2-0 at the outset of the second game. The Hornets never led in the first game.
OKC has shot 52.3 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from 3-point range, compared to 39.6 percent from the floor and 36.1 percent on 3-pointers for New Orleans. The Thunder also has averaged 8.5 steals, 9.5 blocks and 26.0 assists.
Three-time scoring champ Kevin Durant is shooting 64.0 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from 3-point range, Russell Westbrook is averaging 14.0 points, 11.0 assists and 2.0 steals, and sixth man Kevin Martin has averaged 23.0 points, shot 50.0 percent from the field and 90.0 percent from the line.
Be that as it may, “You always want to respect your opponent,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said Tuesday. “There's no question that's the No. 1 game plan every night. If you don't respect your opponent, you're not going to win in this league. … It's always a challenge. You have to prepare and you have to treat every game the same. That's what we do, no matter who we play, no matter what record they have. We still have to go out and play well to win (Wednesday).”