What: Oklahoma City Thunder (22-20) vs. Charlotte Hornets (16-24)
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
When: 5:00 p.m. EST (early tip!)
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Charlotte Hornets play their second game in 24 hours as they look to sweep the Oklahoma City Thunder. Charlotte picked up a surprising win on the road on December 11th, and host an OKC team tonight in the midst of a three game losing streak.
And the losing streak hasn’t been pretty. With closes losses to the Trail Blazers and Suns, followed by a blowout to Timberwolves, the Thunder are once again in a rut. They remain 7th in the Western Conference, but hold just a game and a half lead over the 9th place Clippers.
It’s not the season OKC predicted, not with the star caliber players they have. Carmelo Anthony believes it’s a “mentality thing” and that changing it will get them headed in the right direction.
Charlotte meanwhile, will look to go 2-1 since returning home. They held off the Jazz last night, playing solid defense in the fourth quarter and holding star rookie Donovan Mitchell to just three points in the fourth quarter. Getting stops late in the game will be a priority tonight.
Unlike during Wednesday’s loss, the Hornets came to the aid of Kemba Walker. Marvin Williams and Nicolas Batum combined for 26 points, and were much more involved in the offense. Meanwhile, bench duo Jeremy Lamb and Frank Kaminsky combined for 27. The Hornets need these pairs to score like this more consistently. It can’t be all on Walker, despite how good he is.
Much like last night, the Hornets will face another strong defensive team. OKC ranks fourth in points allowed, and hold the fifth best defensive rating. Their offense, surprisingly in the middle of the pack. Since the Hornets aren’t great offensively either, expect another low scoring game.
And that’s fine, if I’m being honest. I’d prefer them not to give up 39 points in a quarter. As long as the score is close, this game can end 85-80 for all I care.
It will be interesting to see what team shows up tonight, though. Wednesday, we saw them blow a great opportunity for a win against a bad team. Last night, they held on and won a close game. Either team could show up, but hopefully we see the latter.