GAMEDAY PREVIEW: Thunder Host The Hawks

Thursday, December 10th 2015, 5:54 pm
By: Brett Coppenbarger

Now riding a two-game winning streak, the Thunder will be back in action tonight as they host the Atlanta Hawks (14-9). Tip-off is set for 7 p.m., and you can keep up with all the action by following the “Thunder Social Scene" thread.  

Last shot at the Hawks this season

Oklahoma City (13-8) is playing Atlanta for the second time in ten days, with the Hawks getting the better of OKC in Atlanta on November 30. Russell Westbrook led the way for the Thunder with 34 points while giving OKC a four point lead with less than three minutes remaining, but the Hawks fought back valiantly in the game’s closing minutes to win by six.

Jeff Teague had a phenomenal game in the Hawks win, scoring 25 points and sealing the Atlanta win with a blow-by layup past Andre Roberson with less than a minute in the game.

Which Westbrook will we see?

The Thunder are coming off their best performance of the season against Memphis, a game in which Westbrook facilitated to perfection. Throughout the season Westbrook has averaged just over 19 shot attempts per game while dishing out 9.9 assists, but against Memphis, Westbrook made five of his seven shot attempts while totaling a season-high 16 assists.

Westbrook is one of the most lethal scoring assassins in the NBA, and it’s no secret to anyone that he can put the ball in the basket, but Oklahoma City is clearly at its best when he’s moving the ball and looking for open teammates. Kevin Durant seemed to benefit most from the passing frenzy, scoring 32 points on 11-of-14 shooting.

Will the streak continue?

Things seem to be coming together for the Thunder, but the Hawks are just the team that could put a halt to the happiness. Atlanta head coach Mike Budenholzer comes from the Greg Popovich coaching tree, therefore he has a well-rounded roster that’s loaded with unselfish playmakers.

Atlanta is currently sitting in the four spot in the Eastern Conference, but is tied in the win column with the first place Cavaliers. A win tonight could potentially put the Hawks atop the East.