|Last 5 Games||3-2||-0.2||3-2||3-2||108.4||55.6||46.7%||49.4||102.2||51.8||46.7%||51.4|
|Team Stats (All Games)||106.3||54.0||39-83||47.2%||8-22||36.4%||20-25||80.6%||52||11||22||23||8||15||6|
|vs opponents surrendering||101.3||50.7||38-83||45.5%||8-21||35.9%||18-23||75.7%||51||11||22||21||8||14||5|
|Team Stats (Road Games)||105.0||52.8||38-83||46.1%||8-24||34.6%||20-24||81.9%||52||10||21||23||8||15||6|
|Stats Against (All Games)||99.7||49.7||36-83||43.5%||9-24||35.8%||18-25||72.9%||50||11||22||20||8||14||4|
|vs opponents averaging||101.5||50.8||38-83||45.5%||8-22||36.2%||18-24||75.6%||51||11||22||21||8||14||5|
|Stats Against (Road Games)||101.2||50.2||37-84||43.9%||8-24||35.3%||19-26||75.5%||50||11||22||20||8||14||4|
|Last 5 Games||0-5||-3||3-2||3-2||95.2||50.4||43.2%||46.6||104.2||48.8||49.6%||49.0|
|Team Stats (All Games)||99.6||48.8||38-82||45.8%||6-16||37.3%||18-24||77.1%||49||11||21||23||8||13||6|
|vs opponents surrendering||101.1||50.7||38-83||45.4%||8-21||35.9%||18-24||75.7%||51||11||22||21||8||14||5|
|Team Stats (Home Games)||101.1||51.4||38-82||46.3%||6-16||38.4%||19-24||77.8%||50||12||22||22||8||13||8|
|Stats Against (All Games)||102.6||49.8||37-80||46.6%||8-22||35.6%||20-27||75.3%||50||11||23||20||7||14||6|
|vs opponents averaging||101.6||50.9||38-83||45.6%||8-22||36.1%||18-24||75.6%||51||11||22||21||8||14||5|
|Stats Against (Home Games)||100.3||50.2||37-81||45.6%||8-22||36.1%||19-25||73.9%||50||10||22||20||7||13||6|
|Average power rating of opponents played: OKLAHOMA CITY 95.9, NEW ORLEANS 96.2|
|3/9/2014||@ LA LAKERS||110-114||L||-12||L||228||U||42-100||42.0%||68||16||38-81||46.9%||45||15|
|4/9/2014||@ LA CLIPPERS||107-101||W||3.5||W||212||U||38-90||42.2%||55||8||36-86||41.9%||66||16|
|4/14/2014||@ NEW ORLEANS|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|4/16/2014||DETROIT|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|3/29/2014||@ SAN ANTONIO||80-96||L||14.5||L||202||U||32-81||39.5%||49||11||37-78||47.4%||51||13|
|4/11/2014||@ OKLAHOMA CITY||94-116||L||15.5||L||204.5||O||35-86||40.7%||41||12||44-82||53.7%||56||11|
|4/14/2014||OKLAHOMA CITY|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|4/16/2014||HOUSTON|| || || || || || || || || || || || || || |
|OKLAHOMA CITY: GUARDS: RUSSELL WESTBROOK is going to likely miss the first 4-to-6 weeks of the regular season after getting another procedure done on Oct. 1 to reduce swelling on his knee. It will probably take him some time to get rid of the rust of not playing all summer . . . THABO SEFOLOSHA should play even more minutes this season with Kevin Martin gone. He has added a three-point shot to his repertoire . . . REGGIE JACKSON could end up absorbing a lot of the minutes that went to James Harden two years ago and Martin last season. But he's nowhere near the offensive threat . . . JEREMY LAMB will push Jackson for that sixth-man role. He's dominated against lesser competition . . . DEREK FISHER will get minutes as a player/coach. FORWARDS: KEVIN DURANT may have to take on an even bigger role in the regular season as the Thunder try to replace Kevin Martin's offensive production. Either way, he's the MVP among the league's non-LeBrons . . . SERGE IBAKA has had his postseason issues and still struggles defensively outside of rim protection, but he has added value with his mid-range shooting . . . NICK COLLISON's biggest skill is his ability to take charges. He'll continue to log big minutes at the four and five as a glue guy . . . One of two very raw young players, PERRY JONES III and ANDRE ROBERSON, has a chance for playing time on a thin team. CENTERS: KENDRICK PERKINS was a disaster in last year's postseason, but still provides the kind of low-post muscle the Thunder look for . . . Rookie STEVEN ADAMS could take over for Perkins down the road, but he's too raw to make an impact this year . . . HASHEEM THABEET fills out the final roster spot.|
|NEW ORLEANS: GUARDS: JRUE HOLIDAY is perfect for head coach Monty Williams. He defends and can create in the half-court set . . . ERIC GORDON didn't want New Orleans to match his deal two offseasons ago, and he spent last year letting everyone know it. If healthy and motivated (two big 'ifs') he's a 20-point scorer . . . TYREKE EVANS will get some starts at the three and come off the bench at times. Either way, he is the kind of aggressive (if sometimes out-of- control) offensive threat this lineup needs . . . Even after an injury-filled season, ANTHONY MORROW's shooting could earn him a rotation spot . . . AUSTIN RIVERS was overmatched last season, to the point where he didn't seem to belong in the NBA. It's tough to see the win-now Pels relying on him often. FORWARDS: ANTHONY DAVIS was overwhelmed by Williams' complex defensive schemes, and opponents consistently took him out of plays with screen-and-rolls at him. Williams will surely use some of his new talent to allow Davis to roam more on defense . . . RYAN ANDERSON's defensive shortcomings could lead to a drop in playing time, but his shooting and the spacing it creates is too valuable to this offense . . . AL-FAROUQ AMINU will likely split time with Tyreke Evans at the three. He's more valuable defensively, and is starting to show some signs of improvement on offense . . . DARIUS MILLER has a shot to break into the rotation if his defense improves . . . LANCE THOMAS is a long athlete who is capable of playing some good defensive minutes . . . ARINZE ONUAKU most likely won't see the floor for more than a minute at a time. CENTERS: JASON SMITH might be their most complete defensive big man, and that should be enough to earn him solid minutes . . . GREG STIEMSMA is more off a warm body, but he at least gives them another rim-protecting option . . . JEFF WITHEY will spend most of the season on the bench learning Williams' complex schemes.|
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER PRO BASKETBALL PREVIEW (OKLAHOMA CITY-NEW ORLEANS) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
(CORRECTS Hornets to Pelicans in second graf)
*Thunder-Pelicans Preview* ==========================
By JORDAN GARRETSON STATS Writer
Oklahoma City (58-22) at New Orleans (32-48), 8:00 p.m. EDT
The Oklahoma City Thunder squandered their first opportunity to clinch the second seed in the Western Conference. They may have an easier time seizing the moment Monday night.
The visiting Thunder seek their 11th consecutive victory over the injury-ravaged New Orleans Pelicans, whom they blew out three days earlier.
Oklahoma City (58-22) could have clinched the West's No. 2 spot Sunday at Indiana, but was outrebounded 46-32 and let the Pacers shoot 52.8 percent in a 102-97 defeat.
Kevin Durant scored 38 while Russell Westbrook added 21, though he was 7 of 23 from the field.
Westbrook, who averaged 28.5 points on 50.6 percent shooting over his previous four contests, is shooting 54.5 percent in two matchups this season with New Orleans. He recorded 24 points in just 28 minutes while helping the Thunder claim a 28-0 edge in fast-break points in Friday's 116-94 home win over the Pelicans. However, he hasn't played in both games of a back-to-back since Dec. 21-22 as the team tries to rest his surgically repaired right knee.
Oklahoma City clinches a second-place finish with one more win or a loss by the Los Angeles Clippers, who host Denver on Tuesday before visiting Portland on Wednesday. The Thunder wrap up the regular season at home Wednesday against Detroit.
"We just have to put it behind us. The last week or two we've been in a lot of playoff-type atmospheres," Durant said after Sunday's loss. "You can't gauge anything off of one game but you have to look at the whole season and see how we've grown."
Durant has led the Thunder's 10-game win streak in this series by shooting 62.2 percent, including 22 of 42 from 3-point range. His 53.4 career field-goal percentage against New Orleans is his highest against one opponent, and Oklahoma City has won 14 of the past 15 meetings.
The Pelicans (32-48) continue to trudge along with perhaps the league's most injury-plagued roster, losing eight in a row after a season-best five-game winning streak. It's their longest skid since an 11-game slide Dec. 5-22, 2012.
Anthony Davis (back spasms) and Eric Gordon (knee tendinitis) are both out for the club's final two games, while Tyreke Evans (knee) and Brian Roberts (ankle) are day-to-day after leaving Friday's loss.
Neither played in Saturday's 111-104 defeat at Houston, where New Orleans dressed only eight healthy players. The Pelicans were missing their top seven scorers with Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holiday and Jason Smith already sidelined.
Nonetheless, Luke Babbitt scored a career-high 24 and helped them to an eight-point lead with less than three minutes remaining, but Houston ended the game on a 15-0 run. Austin Rivers and Anthony Morrow each added 20 points.
"We're out there playing hard, playing unselfishly," Babbitt told the team's website after making his sixth career start. "That's what coach (Monty Williams) is preaching. We're buying into that. It doesn't matter who's out there - guys have to step up. That's just kind of the way it is right now."
Serge Ibaka has blocked 15 shots over his last three contests, including a season-high eight Friday against the Pelicans.
The Thunder have dropped four of six on the road but have won six of their last seven trips to New Orleans.
|Last Updated: 12/21/2014 5:16:12 AM EST|