Charlotte Bobcats vs. Oklahoma City Thunder preview (Game 60 of 82)

ibaka mcroberts thunder bobcats

  • When: Sunday, 02 March 2014 at 6:00 PM CST
  • Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

The Oklahoma City Thunder finally got back to their winning ways against the Memphis Grizzlies. It took a bit of a scare in the 4th quarter via Mike’s Miller 19 point outburst in the quarter, but the team hung on to, hopefully, right the ship. That’s two straight games where Russell Westbrook and the team appear to be back in sync. Westbrook had at least 21 points and 6 assists for the 2nd straight game, while Serge Ibaka and Reggie Jackson appeared more comfortable in their roles.

This is the second meeting of the season between these two teams. The Thunder won the first meeting of the season, 89-85. Kevin Durant led the Thunder in that game with 34 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists. While the Thunder have dominated the Bobcats in the last few season, the Thunder needed to hold off the hard charging Bobcats in that game and needed every point from Durant to do it.

The Opponent

Al Jefferson, Kemba Walker

The Bobcats currently stand at 27-31, good for 7th in the Eastern Conference. These aren’t your 18 month old son’s Charlotte Bobcats. This team finally has a post presence and a scoring threat from the perimeter. They still need some assistance on the offensive end, only putting up 95 points per game (27th in the league), but make up for that with one of the scrappier defenses in the league, allowing only 96.7 points per game (4th in the league). The Bobcats are led by free agent acquisition Al Jefferson, who gives the Bobcats their first post presence in the existence of the franchise. The double/double machine averages 20.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. Kemba Walker guides the offense as a scoring point averaging 18.3 points per game, while shooting 34.6% from 3-point land. Defensively, Gerald Henderson and Bismack Biyombo anchor one of the better defenses in the league. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has the possibility of being a jack of all trade-type player, but is still trying to find his niche in this league in his 2nd season. The Bobcats’ bench received a bit of a boost by the addition of Gary Neal at the trade deadline.

Probable Starting Line-ups

Charlotte Bobcats

  • PG – Kemba Walker
  • SG – Gerald Henderson
  • SF – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
  • PF – Josh McRoberts
  • C – Al Jefferson

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • PG – Russell Westbrook
  • SG – Perry Jones
  • SF – Kevin Durant
  • PF – Serge Ibaka
  • C – Steven Adams

3 Keys to the Game

1. Next man up – With two starters out due to injury (Perkins and Sefolosha) it’ll be up to Steven Adams and Perry Jones to not be the weak links in the starting 5. It’ll be more on Adams, as Gerald Henderson is not that much of an offensive threat. Al Jefferson is a crafty veteran that gives many players fits.

perry jones thunder

2. Outscore them – A lot like the Memphis Grizzlies in the previous game, if the Thunder play their style of basketball, they should be able to outscore the Bobcats easily. The important thing is to make sure the Bobcats don’t all the sudden become an offensive juggernaut also.

3. Hasheem – Hasheem Thabeet finally got meaningful minutes in the last game. And he almost committed 3 counts of accidental manslaughter. While I loved the effort Thabeet showed in the Memphis game, he also almost got himself and Nick Collison injured on a number of plays in the 2nd quarter.

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