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4-on-3: Previewing Thunder @ Hornets
The legendary Royce Young joins our writers to preview tonight’s game at New Orleans Arena. (Update- Jason Smith will miss tonight’s game.)
1. Which matchup most favors the Thunder?
Royce Young (Daily Thunder)- Russell Westbrook versus Jarrett Jack. It has to be quite the relief for Westbrook to look at the Hornets bench and not see No. 3 there. Because that was always quite the battle between those two. Jack is a fine player, but he’s not Chris Paul and Westbrook should have a good edge there.
Chris Trew: Small forward, power forward, shooting guard, point guard, center. Sorry for being dramatic.
Mason Ginsberg: Everything but the glass. The Thunder hold a ton of matchup advantages across the board. The Hornets’ big men are better offensively, but the Thunder’s bigs are better defensively, so that’s a wash. Rebounding is the only area where the OKC appears to be inferior to New Orleans.
Joe Gerrity: Kevin Durant vs Aminu. In a few years Aminu could potentially be one of only a few defenders who can actually contain Kevin Durant, but I’m expecting Durant to eat take his lunch money tonight.
Royce Young (Daily Thunder)- Emaka Okafor is more athletic than Kendrick Perkins and despite his weight drop, athletic big men are something Perk still has a little trouble with. Perk has trouble defending lobs and running the floor with a big guy so Okafor could be a little bit of a headache for the Thunder tonight if his guards can get him the ball.
Chris: If there is anyone in the crowd wearing an OKC jersey and they are with someone wearing a Hornets jersey and the camera lingers on them during a commercial break, the person in the OKC jersey is getting pied and the person in the Hornets jersey is not. Sorry for being dramatic.
Mason: If I had to pick one edge for the Hornets besides the one that I mentioned above, it’s fatigue. The Thunder played a close one in Memphis last night, a game in which Durant played 43 minutes. OKC’s young core is better equipped than most teams to handle back-to-backs, but if the Hornets somehow manage to keep it close late, they could take advantage of tired Thunder legs.
Joe: The Hornets have the better big men overall. They can control the glass and win the scoring battle inside.
3. Care to make some predictions about the game?
Royce Young (Daily Thunder)- I have to think the Thunder will win, just because they have better players and are a better team. But then again, Oklahoma City is playing a fifth game in six days, played the night before in a tough game in Memphis and is kind of due for a dud game. I think OKC will win the game, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Hornets surprised the Thunder.
Chris: Aminu gets schooled pretty consistently by Durant. Westbrook dunks on Carl Landry a couple of times. Eric Gordon tweets about the BCS game again and it upsets people. Hornets fans make themselves feel better by reminding each other that OKC was built on strong draft picks.
Mason: OKC leads handily for most of the game, but the Hornets make a 4th quarter run to cut the lead to single-digits. Before the game gets too close late in the period, however, James Harden hits a couple buckets to finish with a game-high 27 points and puts the game on ice for the Thunder.
Joe: I’d expect to see Monty getting the younger guys involved a bit more for the first time at home. Most of the games in which Squeaky, Ayon, and Summers have played serious time have been on the road. Tonight could be a good time to let the home crowd see what they’ve got.
Hornets pull off the second stunner in a row against a fatigued Thunder team ... 90-82. Kamen's dog gets another large King Cake as a reward ....
1-I would have to say WestBrook on Jarret Jack, and Durant on Al Aminu 2-Down Low Okafor and Kaman should do well against their Counterparts 3-I'm sorry to say but I have a prediction for both winning scenerios: If Hornets win it will be 96-94, but if the Thunder wins it will be 106-97. all and all it will be a tough game for both sides!!!!