Game Preview: Pistons fly to Oklahoma, take on MVP Russell Westbrook & Co.
Today the Detroit Pistons (11-6) take on the Oklahoma City Thunder (8-9) at 8pm EST / 5pm PST at the Chesapeake Bay Arena.
Probable Starting Lineups:
PG: Reggie Jackson SG: Avery Bradley SF: Stanley Johnson PF: Tobias Harris C: Andre Drummond
Oklahoma City Thunder
PG: Russell Westbrook SG: Andre Roberson SF: Paul George PF: Carmelo Anthony C: Steven Adams
The Thunder are coming off their best win of the season, defeating the Golden State Warriors 108-91. MVP Russell Westbrook had 34 points, 9 assists, 10 rebounds and 4 steals. Carmelo Anthony pitched in 22 points and Paul George poured in 20 points with 11 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 blocks. Westbrook even got into it with his old teammate Kevin Durant:
Overall, the Thunder have been a disappointment after dropping their first four games of the season. Since then, the Thunder have struggled to find fluidity on offense (ranked 14th in offensive rating) and they have one of the worst scoring benches in the league (24th in FG% and 29th in points scored). However, OKC is still very good because of their length and athleticism on defense.
Currently ranked 3rd in defensive rating and 1st in steals, the Thunder make it incredibly hard to find open shots and they allow the least amount of points in the paint. One of the biggest reasons for this is Steven Adams. Adams is OKC’s defensive anchor who does all of the dirty work while protecting the rim. Adams is currently averaging 12.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game. Andre Drummond will have his work cut out for him Friday night.
The Pistons are coming off a blow-out loss to the Cleveland Cavilers, 116-88, and they have lost 3 of their last 4 games. Tobias Harris is leading the Pistons in scoring with 18.7 points while Drummond leads the team in rebounds with 15.3. Harris only needs 3 more made three-pointers and he will have 400 for his career.
In order for the Pistons to win today, they will need to make their outside jump shots and limit the amount of free throws Westbrook gets. The Thunder will not allow anything easy in the paint so the Pistons perimeter shooters will need to be on as well. As always, we will keep an eye out for the Reggie Jackson and Russell Westbrook beef, as they do not like each other. Anyway you look at it, this will be a tough game for the Pistons.
Injuries: For the Pistons, Avery Bradley (groin tightness) and Andre Drummond (teeth) are probable while Jon Leuer is out indefinitely (sprained ankle). For the Thunder, appears no injuries.