Gametime: 7:00 p.m. EST
About a year ago, the Bobcats had a remarkably hot start to their best record through 12 games in franchise history at 7-5.
Then they ran into the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Bobcats were down 40 points after the first half, having managed a measly 24 points against the Thunder. They ended up losing by 45 points, which sparked an 18-game losing streak.
Win or lose, the Bobcats can't possibly perform worse than that last year. The Thunder's roster is similar to the one they saw last year, still led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Serge Ibaka rounds out their three best players in the starting lineup and Reggie Jackson is their best bench scorer.
Durant and Westbrook are still the same dynamic players you remember (even after Westbrook's injury and recovery), one a superstar shooting virtuoso combined with a physical freak with great ballhandling and finishing ability, and the other a wild ravenous athletic blur that can get to the rim nearly at will. Ibaka's the athletic rim protector that also has a nice little jump shot extending beyond the three-point line.
Their bench depth is even better this year in their second post-James Harden season. Reggie Jackson has a similar offensive game to Kemba Walker in that he's a darting point guard that likes to work out of the midrange from time to time. Steven Adams has been great in his rookie season and Jeremy Lamb has been solid too.
But Kendrick Perkins is still starting because ... who knows? CBA regulations for competitive balance?
Anyway, Oklahoma City's offense and defense are both near the top in the league, which makes for an incredibly balanced contending team. Stopping them is no easy task and neither is scoring on them. Should make for a fun end to the Bobcats' home stand.