It’s an inter-conference battle between a team fighting for their playoff spot and one playing for next year down in the Peach State. The Oklahoma City Thunder is on the road as they play the second game of a back to back against the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday night. Oklahoma City won their third in a row by edging Sacramento 106-101 at home Monday night. Atlanta dropped their third straight with a 129-122 home loss to Chicago Sunday afternoon. The Hawks have a slim 66-65 lead in the all-time regular season series but the Thunder took a 120-117 home win in the first matchup this season on December 22, 2017.
Oklahoma City Thunder Goes for Fourth Straight Victory
Oklahoma City had a tougher than expected battle but picked up a third straight win as they took down the Kings at home Monday night. The Thunder now goes on the road to complete a back to back set. Oklahoma City led by six at the half and trailed by one after three quarters before rallying to outscore Sacramento 28-22 in the fourth to get the win. The Thunder shot 45.2 percent from the floor and hit 16 of 36 three point attempts in the game. Paul George led Oklahoma City with 21 points while Russell Westbrook recorded his 99th career triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in the win.
The Thunder is mediocre offensively this season as they are 13th with an average of 106.7 points per game. Oklahoma City is 4th in the league in rebounding with 45.1 boards per contest. The Thunder is 29th in assists with 21.1 per game. Oklahoma City is 7th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 103.7 points a night. Carmelo Anthony is third on the Thunder with 16.7 points plus 5.9 boards a night. Russell Westbrook contributes a team leading 25.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, 10.1 assists and 1.85 steals per game. Paul George adds 22 points plus 5.6 boards and 2.08 steals a contest and Steven Adams chips in 13.8 points plus nine boards a night. Jerian Grant, Corey Brewer, Terrance Ferguson, Andre Roberson, Raymond Felton, Alex Abrines and Patrick Patterson have to make their presence known on both ends. Roberson is done for the season after rupturing his patellar tendon on January 27. Oklahoma City is 19th in the league in field goal percentage as the team shoots 45.4 percent from the floor. The Thunder is tied for 17th with 10.4 made threes per game and stands 26th in three point shooting at 34.9 percent.
Atlanta Hawks Look to Snap Latest Slump
Atlanta dropped their third straight as they faded after a hot start and fell to Chicago in a battle of teams looking at lottery picks. The Hawks led 24-8 early on and held a 14 point edge after the opening quarter. That dissipated quickly as Atlanta trailed by three at the half and never led in the second half as Chicago kept answering. The Hawks shot the ball well, hitting 51.2 percent from the field, including 19 of 40 three point attempts. Atlanta was hurt by 15 turnovers, especially as they forced just five Chicago miscues. Taurean Prince had 38 points, six boards and seven assists to lead the Hawks in the win.
The Hawks are 22nd in the league in scoring offense with 103.6 points per game this season. Atlanta is 27th in the league in rebounding (41 rpg) and 8th with 23.6 assists per contest. The Hawks are 23rd in the NBA in scoring defense as they allow 108.6 points per game. Dennis Schroder leads the team with 19.2 points plus 6.1 assists per contest. Taurean Prince kicks in 12.9 points plus 4.7 rebounds a game and John Collins adds 10.3 points with seven rebounds per contest. Dewayne Dedmon (9.8 points, 7.4 boards), Malcolm Delaney, Kent Bazemore (12.9 points, 3.8 boards, 1.54 steals) and Mike Muscala have to contribute on the offensive end. The Hawks are tied for 23rd in the league by shooting 44.8 percent from the floor as a team. Atlanta is tied for 9th in the league with 11 made three pointers a night and 14th in three point shooting as the team hits 36.4 percent from beyond the arc.
- No Key Trends
- Hawks are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall
Atlanta has nothing to play for and it showed in the loss to Chicago. The Hawks jumped out early and then faded away, seemingly content in letting Chicago take control of the game. With the loss, Atlanta remained tied for the Eastern Conference cellar with Orlando. Only the Suns and Grizzlies have worse records at this point. Oklahoma City is fighting to stay in a crowded Western Conference playoff race: their win moved them, at least for the short term, to fourth but they were just two games ahead of Utah and Denver, who are the first two teams out of the picture. The Thunder has to win games like this to maintain their position: look for them to shake off fatigue and do just that.