Game 22: Hornets vs. Thunder

2010-11 NBA Regular Season


14-7 vs
December 10th, 2010
New Orleans Arena
7:00 PM CST
Probable starters:
Chris Paul > Russell Westbrook
Marco Belinelli
= Thabo Sefalosha
Trevor Ariza < Kevin Durant
David West
> Jeff Green
Emeka Okafor > Nenad Kristic

Your Pregame Moment of Zen


The Thunder Outlook

Oklahoma City has had a strange, strange start to the season. We're 23 games into the season, and they've still got a negative point differential. In fact their differential (-0.1 pts/g) barely edges out those of Houston and Philadelphia. What does it mean? They've gotten lucky in a ton of close games. They squeezed by New Jersey by three in triple overtime. It took 'em an OT period to beat Indiana by a mere three points. They escaped with a one point win in Milwaukee earlier in the season, and this week, they edged Golden State by 5. Overall, the Thunder are 5-1 in games decided by 3 points or less, the most wins in the NBA in that category. Winning close games in the NBA has as much to do with luck as it does with skill; at this level, the top teams execute very similarly down the stretch.

OKC is easily a playoff team out West, but they haven't looked like the championship contender many predicted.

Their biggest issue? They simply can't shoot the ball. This year, the Thunder are hitting just 31.5% of their looks from beyond the arc. Most notably, Kevin Durant is hitting just 28% of his 5 threes per 36 minutes. Overall, only three teams have worse floor percentages (eFG) in the conference. While that will certainly even out a little bit, it's important to note that they didn't shoot very well last year either (12th in the conference, right ahead of the Clippers). Their big offensive strength has always been the ability to get to the foul line. They're first overall this year after finishing second last year. Durant, Jeff Green, and Russell Westbrook average a combined 23.4 free throw attempts per game. The Hornets' entire team averages 23.7.

Of course, all this Thunder-bashing doesn't mean I'm predicting a Hornet win tonight. With our recent form, we could very easily be blown out by 20 again. The Hornets still have the best defensive efficiency in the conference, but only the Wolves, Clippers, and Kings play worse offense out West. As long as we continue battling ourselves, this team will remain maddeningly inconsistent.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join The Bird Writes

You must be a member of The Bird Writes to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Bird Writes. You should read them.

Join The Bird Writes

You must be a member of The Bird Writes to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at The Bird Writes. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.