Thunder @ Pistons Preview (Game 22 of 82)

okc logo at Pistons_logo_new

  • When: Monday, 03 December 2018 at 6:00 pm CST
  • Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
  • TV: FSOK/NBATV
  • Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 930 AM (Spanish))
  • Line: OKC -2.0 | O/U: 220
  • Off Rating: OKC – 107.9 (17th) | DET – 108.6 (13th)
  • Def Rating: OKC – 101.4 (1st) | DET – 106.3 (8th)

When the regular season schedule is first released, there’s a definite curiosity to predict the win/loss record based on who you think the superior team is on a nightly basis. For the Oklahoma City Thunder, there was a feeling that the early months on the schedule would be the easier ones. But then again, this season has not necessarily gone as planned in terms of how some teams are performing.

The Sacramento Kings, for instance, were thought to, once again be, one of the bottom dwellers in the West. Same for the Mavericks. Out East, there was also an expected pecking order that has not entirely held to form. The Magic are doing a lot better than expected, the Hornets are sticking around, and the Detroit Pistons, who were expected to be a middling team, are in position, currently, to host a playoff series.

Of course, this is the first quarter mark of the season and things can drastically change moving forward. For the Thunder, they’ve held court after a surprising 0-4 start to the season. Since that losing streak, they’ve gone on to win 14 of their next 17 games. December looks to be a little tougher, as they play 2/3rds of their games this month on the road. Tonight starts a three game road trip out East, beginning with the aforementioned Detroit Pistons.

The Recent Life of the Opponent

The Detroit Pistons currently sit at 13-7, surprising much of the NBA with their quick start. Much of that can be attributed to health, as Reggie Jackson and Blake Griffin are fully healthy heading into this season. They’ve won their last 5 games and 7 of their last 8. They are the only team, so far this season, to have beaten both Toronto and Golden State. Blake Griffin is having a surprisingly quiet MVP-caliber season (24.9 pts/ 9.5 rebs) and Andre Drummond once again leads the league in rebounding (16.4 per game)

Injuries

Oklahoma City

  • Andre Roberson (knee) – Out
  • Hamidou Diallo (ankle) – Questionable
  • Terrance Ferguson (ankle) – Probable

Detroit

  • Luke Kennard (shoulder) – Probable

Three Big Things

1. Similarities

Oklahoma City is a good team. And the consensus, if you ask most NBA fans, is that Detroit is the same team as last season. They aren’t. Detroit is a very good team, that relies on defense, activity in the paint, and a reliance on certain players to score. It’s amazing how similar these two teams are stats-wise. Both are below average 3-point and free throw shooting teams. They are one and two in offensive rebounds per game. Oklahoma City leads the league in steals, while Detroit leads the league in deflections. It’s like the Spiderman meme with these two teams.

spiderman

2. Battle of the Behemoths

There may be a reading on the Richter scale in Detroit tonight, as two giants battle it out in the paint. It’ll be like the game (or movie) Rampage. Steven Adams has a history of dominating Andre Drummond, who surprisingly, doesn’t do well against Adams’ physicality. But that doesn’t mean that Drummond won’t get his numbers. And if he grabs his fair share of offensive rebounds, it could turn the tide in Detroit’s direction in this game.

3. Transition

Oklahoma City will want to push the pace in this game, but Detroit has great transition defense (2nd in fast break points allowed and 3rd in points off turnovers). This will likely be the battle of the game. Whoever wins the battle of transition, will likely come out the victor in this

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