When: 7:00 p.m. EST
Where: Spectrum Center
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, Fox Sports Oklahoma
This is an extremely dangerous matchup for the Hornets. The Thunder are not a consistent team by any means. They’ve won against some great teams, but also lost to teams they never should have lost to in any universe. Their bench is a big weakness of their’s that tends to make work for the starting unit a lot harder on the starting unit some night. They’re similar to the Hornets in those aspects. However, while Kemba Walker is having an All-Star caliber season for the Hornets, Russell Westbrook is putting up MVP numbers for Oklahoma City. The man is a human buzzsaw that destroys defenses with ferocity, speed, and athleticism that fills out entire highlight reels in single games. He’s terrifying.
That’s why this game is as dangerous as it is. If Westbrook is having one of his triple double nights, he’s still averaging one by the way, then the Thunder have a chance to win the game. This man is carrying a solid, but not great, roster of players that do not get nearly enough credit. Steven Adams is a legitimately good center that is going to give the Hornets massive trouble at the rim, and Victor Oladipo is finally beginning to emerge this season now that he’s in a new environment. They’re not a title contender anymore, that happens when Kevin Durant leaves, but this is still a group that’s going to make noise come playoff time.
Can the Hornets win? Of course they can win, the Thunder lost to the Orlando Magic at one point this season. They have these random lapses that just really lead to doubt in their ability to put together a consistent performance. They’re a middle of the road offense that relies heavily on Westbrook to do everything for them, and that’s something a top ten ranked Hornets defense can exploit.
This isn’t to say the Hornets should be favored in this game, but considering it’s a home game against an inconsistent team a win wouldn’t be that shocking even with the injuries. The Hornets will likely need big performances out of Kemba Walker and someone else to pull this one out.