The Charlotte Hornets are seeking to improve their win streak to three games when they travel on Friday night to face Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder in what can be a statement game for Charlotte over one of the hottest teams in the NBA.
These two teams have already met once this season in what was a thrilling game in Charlotte. Unfortunately, this didn’t end in Charlotte’s favor as they would fall 111-107. This game was extremely ugly from a shooting standpoint for both teams. The Hornets finished that night with a very inefficient 11 for 41 (26.8%) from three. The Thunder were even worse, finishing with a percentage of 21.6% on the night. You can bet that both teams will be looking to improve these totals when they meet again tonight.
The Hornets guards led the way for them in this game. Kemba Walker and Malik Monk both finished with 21 points while Tony Parker tacked on 17 of his own. Oklahoma City won this game on the sheer will of Russell Westbrook, who took over late and finished the game with 29 points 10 assists and 8 rebounds. It seemed like he was the only one on the court who wanted to win the game down the stretch, which isn’t anything new from him.
Alex Abrines and Dennis Schroeder were also big contributors for OKC with 25 and 21 points respectively. If the Hornets want any chance at winning this matchup they can’t allow the Oklahoma City bench players to go off like that. Thunder forward, Paul George, had an abysmal night shooting. He was 4 for 20 from the field and 0 for 11 from three with just 11 points. He made up for it defensively as he was outstanding for the Thunder down the final stretch of the game.
Oklahoma City find themselves winners of eight in their last 10 games, and coming off a dominating win on the road against the struggling Golden St. Warriors. As one of the hottest teams in the NBA, they will be looking to continue this level of play against the hottest player in the league right now in Hornets point guard, Kemba Walker.
Charlotte is coming off an impressive two game winning streak beating both the Boston Celtics, 117-112, and the Victor Oladipo-less Indiana Pacers, 127-109, at home. Walker has been on a tear recently, dropping 60 points in last Saturday’s loss against the Philadelphia 76ers. 43 points earlier in the week against the Celtics, and thanks to the work his team put in on Wednesday night against Indiana, Kemba had just 16 points and was able to rest the entire 4th quarter. He and the rest of the team should be looking to hand the Thunder a loss in their own arena like Oklahoma City did to them not too long ago.
Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will be out again with an ankle injury while center Willy Hernangomez is listed as day-to-day. For Oklahoma City, they may be thin at the shooting guard position as Terrance Ferguson is listed as out and Alex Abrines and Hamidou Diallo are both day-to-day.
Tip-Off is at 8:00 p.m.