The Oklahoma City Thunder are set to host the Brooklyn Nets to start a four-game homestand. Once again this week, the Thunder catch a break taking on the Nets without one of their superstar players in Kevin Durant. This week alone, OKC has been afforded the luxury of not playing Devin Booker, CJ McCollum, Kevin Durant, Jusuf Nurkic, Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and Damian Jones. All players who are bulk minute contributors all the way up to the best players we have ever seen play the sport. That can be a key difference in games against the Blazers and Suns in which OKC won by 3 and 5 points respectively.
With the Nets’ awful depth, the Thunder having Lu Dort to shutdown James Harden, that leaves Kyrie Irving who will need to put the Nets on his back today to get Brooklyn past Oklahoma City. Now, the scary part is, that can absolutely happen, he is that good of a player. It is also entirely possible that James Harden, despite great defense by Lu Dort, is still able to score at will as he is one of the best we have ever seen at scoring the basketball. What is also certain though, is the Thunder have fight and more of a chance as of now that KD is ruled out than they did 24 hours ago when it was assumed the three-headed monster would be entering OKC.
However, even with the star-studded trio, the Nets have allowed teams to hang around for a multitude of reasons. Teams like Cleveland, Orlando, and Atlanta to be able to hover around and when teams allow the Thunder to hang in contests they often times come back and win a game they shouldn’t on paper.
For the Thunder, they are still missing Josh Hall (Health and Safety Protocols), Ty Jerome (Left Ankle Sprain), and key veteran George Hill (Thumb).
Aside from watching Lu Dort and James Harden continue their budding rivalry from the NBA Bubble Postseason, seeing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continue his All-Star campaign will be exciting tonight. However, an underrated storyline is the breakfast club.
The OKC Thunder breakfast club consists of Isaiah Roby, Kenrich Williams, Justin Jackson, and Moses Brown. Now throw in the other bench pieces like Mike Muscala and Aleksej Pokusevski, and that might be the most interesting group on the floor tonight. Oklahoma City’s second unit has been surprisingly good at times, and fun to watch. Tonight, they get the benefit of going up against a team in the Nets that arguably has the worst depth in the NBA.
Even after the KD news, the Thunder are still seven-point underdogs. For Locked on Thunder listeners, tonight’s bet of the game is Thunder +7 and the money ball pick is Mike Muscala.
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