- When: Thursday, 25 January 2018 at 7:00 pm CST
- Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
- TV: TNT
- Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 930 AM (Spanish))
- Line: OKC -5.0 | O/U – 213
The Set-Up: There’s a purveying thought in the NBA that the mark of a good team is taking care of business at home, beating the teams you are supposed to beat handily, and winning some of the games against the teams either at your level or above you. While that all may be true, one of the “shhhhh, it’s a secret” signs that you are a good team is the ability to coast through much of a game against an inferior opponent and then completely snatch their heart out at the end of the game.
Over their current 5 game win streak, the Thunder have done just that to Charlotte and Brooklyn. The spark in each of those game was back-up point guard Raymond Felton. Commandeering a bench unit that struggles to consistently score, Felton has usually been the constant that helps that unit stay afloat. Over this current 5-game stretch, Felton is averaging 8.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 4 assists per game on 38.5% shooting from deep. The ability to have someone come off the bench and have an impact on the game was something that was severely lacking from this team last season.
Previous Meetings: This is the first meeting of the season between the Thunder and Wizards. They will meet again on Tuesday in Washington D.C.
Looking at the Numbers
1. Offensive Rebounding – The Washington Wizards are susceptible on the offensive glass. Their defensive rebound percentage is ranked 21st, while the Thunder rank first in offensive rebound percentage. For context, Steven Adams grabbed 9 offensive boards against a Brooklyn team that ranks 10th in defensive rebound percentage.
2. Perimeter Defense – The Wizards’ offense is predicated on the abilities of their two All-Stars, John Wall and Bradley Beal. In addition, the small forward combo of Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre Jr. also present match-up problems on the wing. The outcome of this game will probably have a lot to do on how well Paul George and Andre Roberson play on the defensive side of the ball. Look for Josh Huestis and Terrance Ferguson to also be thrown in the mix.
3. Score on Them – From the beginning of the season to the end of the calendar year, the Wizards gave up 104 points per game. Since the 1st of January, the Wizards have given up nearly 110 points per game over a ten game span. The Thunder, who have found a bit of a groove on the offense, should hopefully take advantage of Washington’s struggles on the defensive side of the ball.