Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Thunder at Hawks: Preview


Oklahoma City Thunder (3-25) vs. Atlanta Hawks (17-10)
Tuesday, December 23
Philips Arena
Atlanta, Georgia
6:00 CST

TV: FS Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD 722)
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM)

The last time these two got together, Oklahoma City led an undefeated Atlanta squad for about 40 minutes and then a late 18-5 run doomed the Thunder as the Hawks won 89-85.

When the Hawks are focused and are playing hard, they're good. Like good as in they can play and win with anyone. But they are also the type of team that can potentially come out flat, overlook an opponent and lose. And that's precisely what OKC fans are hoping for tonight. A lackluster effort from Atlanta enabling the Thunder to stay close for four quarters and maybe squeak one out.

One thing about Atlanta though, is they're good at home. Like 11-2 good. They've played very solid defense this year and when they're hitting from three, they're nearly unstoppable. And they do it even better at home.

It's a weird feeling to be a Thunder fan right now. Somehow, someway, my excitement for the team is beginning to catch a second wind. The expectations are gone and the team's playing so much better. The wins really haven't come as a result, but knowing the team will likely be competitive each night makes losing constantly a little bit easier to take. The Thunder's average margin of defeat has fallen from 13.0 points over their first 16 games to 4.4 in the last 12, but they're still 2-10 in that span. We knew the team would be bad, but watching it steadily improve and get to the point where it can compete each night is fun. And knowing help is on the way in Nenad Krstic, it's really fun to watch the building blocks come in to place and see a team built from the ground up.

No expectations tonight, except to be competitive. Hang tough, give yourself a chance. I know some readers and like to poke fun at "improving yet losing." But with any team, what are you supposed to take out of a game? If the Team A doesn't have near the talent, the ability or the intangibles of Team B, what are you to hope for if you're a fan of A? Is it realistic to hope for wins against superior opponents and be pissed if you lose? Or do you stay realistic and hope the team plays as well as it can and stays competitive and if it wins, then that's just a bonus? Because that's the mindset of Thunder fans. Play hard, play well and just hang tough. At this point, that's all we can ask for.


Anonymous said...

I wonder who won. I bet the loser team from the loser city lost, but it was the best loss ever.

Anonymous said...

Since Royce has been slacking lately, I'll cover for him and write a recap of tonight's game (hopefully my literary style does Royce justice).

The Thunder played a really amazing game tonight. Although it didn't show in the final score, the Thunder gave it 110% and had the kind of night that just makes you get goosebumps when you think about the team's awesome future! Kid Delicious was insane tonight - dropping bombs from all over the court and completely perplexing the helpless Hawks defense. Russell "Half Kidd, Half CP3, Half Stockton" Westbrook totally showed flashes of the Hall of Fame PG we all know he will become (assuming he eventually doubles his FG%). Jeff Green - wow - what else can I say but Scottie Pippen was in the heezey tonight. I think the Thunder would of won this game if they had been playing in front of a packed (only 2,000 short of capacity!) Ford Center house. There's a certain buzz in this city the last few weeks. It's hard to put a finger on it. Some might call it the Christmas season, but I have a feeling there's more to it than that. I think Bricktown can sense that Glorious Wonderful Almighty Coach Scotty has really lit a fire under this team and made them realize how lucky they are to be playing in the greatest city in the world. Once we add the illustrious Nenad Kristic to the mix and pick up another raw, turnover-prone 19 year-old in the draft, we are going to set the world on fire next year. And next year when Zogby does its annual Oklahoma opinion poll, maybe this time only 1/3 of the country will have a "Poor" view of Oklahoma!

Anonymous said...

Royce is that you?

Anonymous said...

Great recap Royce. Much like your team, your blog gives 110% effort every night despite your obvious lack of talent and experience. That's really all I can ask for.

Anonymous said...

I heard the team thanked the fans for their amazing support yet again. LOL

slade the gay blade said...

You do a great job with your blog, Royce. Don't let the rodents get you down.

Did you read where Washington is 5 billion dollars in debt and getting ready to go into session to establish spending for the next two years? There is absolutely no way that Frank Chopp will allow money to be spent on an arena when all of his pet programs are being cut.

Clay Bennett and the PBC will get to keep their 30 million dollars and Mayor Mcfatty, Slade, Wally and Steve will all be left with their thumbs up their asses. Bennett sure schooled those clowns....funny, funny stuff.

Anonymous said...

Fag blade, you admire Bennet for "schooling" Seattle? As in, you're admitting he's a thief and a liar?

Finally, you guys are starting to admit it. I thought you didn't have the balls to do it so early. That's cool - the truth from you thieves is all what some of us have been waiting for.

And that recap from poster 2 was fuckin' hilarious!!!

slade the gay blade said...

Like taking candy from a baby....chump.

steve H is a d-bag said...

Uh...yeah, WA has a little bit of a budget problem. Meanwhile, OKC is looking mighty short-sighted for passing the most regressive tax I can imagine. I bet all those elderly folks who have seen their retirement savings get wiped out recently are really happy to be paying a 1% tax on their groceries to support the 3-26 Thunder!