Monday, November 16 at 7:00 PM CST – at Memphis Grizzlies
The Thunder will open the week with a tough one in Memphis. The Grizzlies have had a slow start this year, but they’re always a tough matchup for Oklahoma City. Having faced one another three times in the playoffs so far, these two teams have developed quite a rivalry that is always fun to watch. Russell Westbrook and co. will look to knock off Memphis in their lone road game this week.
Wednesday, November 18 at 7:00 PM CST – vs. New Orleans Pelicans
This matchup provided a thriller four times last season, with New Orleans coming out on top in three of those games. The Pelicans are battling an injury-riddled season so far, but they’re still a very talented team lead by All Star Anthony Davis. Look for this to be another exciting game, and hopefully we won’t have to witness any Davis magic this time around.
Friday, November 20 at 7:00 PM CST – vs. New York Knicks
The Knicks are just 5-6 so far this season, but they have a pretty solid team behind perennial All Star Carmelo Anthony and exciting rookie Kristaps Porzingis. That being said, this should still be a game the Thunder can take care of at home.
Sunday, November 22 at 6:00 PM CST – vs. Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks were not expected to make much noise this season after losing out on the DeAndre Jordan sweepstakes, but they have surprised so far, going 6-4. This is one of the Thunder’s biggest rivalries, and whether Dallas is great or average, these games are almost always tough wins. Hopefully OKC can net a win on their home court.
#Three Things to Watch for:
Offense without Kevin Durant
Durant’s hamstring injury has not been labeled as very serious, but the Thunder is going to be very careful and not rush him back. In his absence, the Thunder offense is going to have to step up. Obviously a lot of that burden falls on Westbrook’s shoulders, but the Thunder will need Serge Ibaka, Dion Waiters, Enes Kanter and Anthony Morrow to especially step up and help cover that 25 to 30 points the team will be missing.
Big Man Defense
The Thunder’s schedule this week includes Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, Davis, Dirk Nowitzki, and, though it’s probably early to include him on this list, Porzingis. That’s a lot of scoring potential from opposing bigs, and Ibaka, Kanter, Steven Adams, Nick Collison and Mitch McGary will certainly have their work cut out defensively. It will be especially interesting to see how Kanter plays on defense, an area in which he is known to struggle.
Anthony Morrow vs. Kyle Singler
Both of these guys have struggled so far, but history tells us that Morrow is a much better option. For some puzzling reason that may be based on defense, Singler has gotten to play a lot of minutes that we would’ve expected Morrow to get. It seems that Morrow is now out of sync when he does get to play, and Singler makes dumb mistakes and shoots poorly too. Billy Donovan is going to have to figure out what to do with these guys soon.
#Around the League:
Here are some games around the NBA to watch for this week.
Indiana Pacers at Chicago Bulls – Monday, November 16 at 7:00 PM CST
This matchup between two of the Eastern Conference’s top teams should be a good one. The Bulls have some great talent in guys like Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol, and the Pacers feature the likes of Monta Ellis and Paul George, the latter of which is quietly having a great season so far. This one should be fun to watch.
Milwaukee Bucks at Cleveland Cavaliers – Thursday, November 19 at 7:00 PM CST
The Bucks are just 5-5, but they’re also only one of two teams to defeat the Cavaliers so far. That game happened last week, and turned out to be a double overtime thriller. Hopefully the rematch proves to be another great game between these two Eastern Conference teams.
Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers – Thursday, November 19 at 9:30 PM CST
This matchup is always fun to watch, whether it falls in the playoffs or regular season. The Warriors begin the week as the lone undefeated team in the league, and the Clippers start hasn’t been too shabby either. This primetime matchup should prove to be as entertaining as always.
#By the Numbers:
Points per game for Anthony Davis against the Thunder last year. He also shot about 59 percent in his dominant performances.
Points per game for Westbrook in his career against the Knicks. It’s the most he’s averaged against any team.
Number of games OKC has played against Memphis since the start of the 2010-11 season. The Thunder is 18-20 in those games.