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Tags Posts tagged with "Oklahoma City Thunder"

Oklahoma City Thunder

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Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports

March 13, 2014 — 6:30 PM (PST)
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
TV: TNT / TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Since the last Lakers game when they upset the Oklahoma City Thunder, a lot has happened in Lakerland in the past 24 hours. Phil Jackson‘s possibility of joining the Knicks, the announcement that SG Kobe Bryant will be out for the rest of this season, Bryant and Lakers legend Magic Johnson making a “hail-mary” pitch to make Phil Jackson reconsider, and also Bryant reportedly wants Lakers Head Coach Mike D’Antoni fired. 

With all this drama ensuing in Los Angeles, many of you have probably forgotten that the Lakers have a game tonight vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (46-17). They actually upset the Thunder this Sunday, 114-110, in front of national audience.

Jodie Meeks has a career night, dominating the Thunder by shooting 11-18 from the field, shooting 6-11 from three and was a perfect 14-14 from the free throw line. Meeks has been one of the bright spots of what has otherwise been a very dismal season, scoring 15.3 PPG, shooting 45.5% from the field and 39.9% from behind the 3-point line, which are all career highs.

The Lakers won by making 13 three-pointers in order to go on that marvelous 3rd quarter run in which they outscored the Thunder 36-19.

The Thunder seek to come back from Sunday’s loss and protect their home floor vs. Lakers.

Thunder F Kevin Durant, who only shot 19 times vs. Lakers in their last meeting, seek to be more aggressive and become more assertive driving to the basket. The Lakers have nobody to match up with Durant pound-for-pound, so Durant needs to demand the ball to prevent his team from getting upset again.

Projected Starters

PG – Russell Westbrook / Kendall Marshall [Advantage: Thunder]
SG – Perry Jones III / Jodie Meeks [Advantage: Lakers]
SF – Kevin Durant / Kent Bazemore [Advantage: Thunder]
PF – Serge Ibaka / Wesley Johnson [Advantage: Thunder]
C – Steven Adams / Pau Gasol [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Thunder: G Derek Fisher, G Jeremy Lamb, F Nick Collison, SF Caron Butler
Lakers: PG Jordan Farmar, C Robert Sacre, F Ryan Kelly, Marshon Brooks, Xavier Henry

Bench Advantage: Thunder

Injury List

Thunder: Out-C Kendrick Perkins, Out-G Thabo Sefelosha
Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant,  Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-F Jordan Hill Out-F Nick Young

Key to Victory

Frustrate Westbrook: The Lakers beat the Thunder twice in the last 2 seasons. Both times, the Lakers frustrated PG Russell Westbrook, forcing him to take bad, highly contested shots, and keep the ball out of Durant’s hand. Westbrook shot 7-23 from the field goal, taking very bad shots during the process. I expect Westbrook to play much better tonight especially on their home floor. However, the chances of stopping Westbrook is higher than stopping Durant.

Bottom Line

With a lot of smoke and fire surrounding the Lakers off the floor, the team have to focus on the task at hand and try to execute on both ends of the floor to defeat the Thunder again. Veteran C Pau Gasol has to lead the players by keeping them focused on what happens on the floor and not what happens. The Sunday’s victory vs. Thunder was sweet. However, major difficulties exist to defeat the Thunder twice in a row.

Prediction

Thunder: 120-111

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Image: Harry How | Getty Images

February 13, 2014 — 7:30 PM (PST)
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TNT
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Both teams find themselves heading upwards as All-Star Break approaches upon them. The Oklahoma City Thunder (42-12) find themselves ascending in their winning percentage and now have the best record in the NBA without PG Russell Westbrook. Meanwhile, the Lakers (18-34) continually move up in the NBA lottery seed as they continue to lose games.

Thunder F Kevin Durant has dominated the NBA this season, scoring over 40 points 6 times and 30 or more points in 16 of the last 22 games. A favorite to win the MVP this season, Durant has put his entire team on his back without Westbrook with his scoring ability and has propelled the Thunder past all the Western Conference teams into first place.

Meanwhile, the same 3 point guards who returned last week vs. Minnesota Timberwolves have now re-injured themselves within this week.

PG Steve Nash unfortunately continues to deal with nerve root irritation and will not play tonight. Sadly, this might spell the end for Nash, whose nerve issues has not healed the way he wanted to regardless of how much time he spends in rehab.

PG Jordan Farmar also cannot play tonight as he tries to manage his hamstring that he has torn twice this season already. To make matters worse, PG Steve Blake will play tonight but still feels pain in his right elbow. Questions exist to why Blake wants to play tonight especially since the Lakers should not want to see Blake reaggravate his injury and miss the rest of this season.

Projected Starters

PG – Reggie Jackson / Kendall Marshall [Advantage: Thunder]
SG – Thabo Sefolosha / Steve Blake [Advantage: Thunder]
SF – KEVIN DURANT / Wesley Johnson [Advantage: Thunder]
PF – Serge Ibaka / Shawne Williams [Advantage: Thunder]
C – Kendrick Perkins / Chris Kaman [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Thunder: G Derek Fisher, G Jeremy Lamb, F Perry Jones III, F Nick Collison, C Steven Adams
Lakers: F Jordan Hill, C Robert Sacre, F Ryan Kelly

Bench Advantage: Thunder

Injury List

Thunder: Out-PG Russell Westbrook, Questionable-PG Thabo Sefelosha
Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Steve Blake, Out-G Xavier Henry, Out-C Pau Gasol, Out-PG Jordan Farmar, Out-PG Jodie Meeks, Out-PG Steve Nash, Probable-Steve Blake

Bottom Line

The Lakers currently have trouble finding enough players to put on the floor. They only have 8 players available to play tonight. Irresponsible management of players playing times and injuries can be argued as one of the main causes of so many players going down with injuries. The Thunder should have no problem coming away with an easy victory tonight. Durant will most likely not score 30 or more points tonight since he can probably relax on the bench throughout the majority of the 2nd half of tonight’s game.

Prediction

Thunder: 129-98

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