Game 26 Preview: Thunder vs Hornets

Tonight, the Oklahoma City Thunder will be back at home to face the Charlotte Hornets for the first time this season.

In the past five games, the Thunder’s record stands at four wins and one loss. Within these four wins, there have been two huge comebacks: against the Jazz, Oklahoma City overcame a seventeen points deficit and a twenty points deficit against the Grizzlies.

It must be a big mental pressure finding yourself in a deep hole like a double-digit deficit, so, being able to recover and win these game proved that this team has character and is not going to give up easily.

Keys to the Game

Rebounds Battle – Charlotte is the second best team in the league in rebounding with an average of 47 rebounds per game, 36.8 on the defensive glass (1st in the league). The Thunder rank 14th overall at 43.5 rebounds per game with 11.8 of these coming on the offensive glass (3rd in the league). It seems obvious that who’s going to win the rebounds battle will most likely come away with the win.

Free Throws – I might sound like a broken record but free throws have been one of the main issues for the Thunder. Oklahoma City is taking 22.6 FT per game and they are only converting 71.2% on their attempts. Interesting, though, that it’s not an issue of one specific player but it seems to be a whole team problem.

Mindset – The Hornets are 1-10 on the road and 3-7 in their last 10 games. This being said, the Thunder should not underestimate their opponent and should not let Charlotte decide the tempo. Charlotte will fight hard to overcome their bad stats and might surprise OKC with a final sprint at the end of the game: If Oklahoma City let Charlotte hang around the whole game, they might find themselves in trouble in the last minutes.

Injury Report

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Paul George – Calf Contusion (Game time decision)
  • Andre Roberson – Ankle (Game time decision)

Charlotte Hornets

  • Nicolas Batum – Elbow (Game time decision)
  • Jeremy Lamb – Lower leg (Game time decision)
  • Frank Kaminsky – Angle (Game time decision)
  • Cody Zeller – Knee (Expected to be out until Jan 2)

Teams Stats

Oklahoma City Thunder

PPG 101.8 – OPP PTS 99.0
FG% 43.7 – 3PT% 33.8 – FT% 71.2
APG 20.8 – RPG 43.5 – TOV 15.1

Charlotte Hornets

PPG 104.6 – OPP PTS 106.8
FG% 43.6 – 3PT% 34.8 – FT% 72.8
APG 20.3 – RPG 47.0– TOV 13.4

Cover photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images



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