Oklahoma City Thunder (3-27) vs. Detroit Pistons (15-11)
Friday, December 26
The Palace of Auburn Hills
TV: FS Oklahoma (Cox 37)
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM)
The one area OKC really has an advantage tonight? The glass. The Pistons are 25th in the league in rebounding averaging just 39.8 a game. The Thunder on the other hand have been rebounding extremely well lately, outrebounding seven of their last eight opponents, averaging 45.3 boards during that stretch. Jeff Green has been rebounding much better (and he should be), snatching 24 boards the past two games. Chris Wilcox had a season-high 12 against Atlanta. Even Kevin Durant has been hitting the glass a little better lately.
But other than that, what hope is there for tonight? Though the Pistons are an average 11-11 since trading for Allen Iverson, they still are one of the top five or six teams in the East. Rodney Stuckey had a career high 40 against Chicago the other night, Tayshaun Prince will give KD major problems tonight and Rasheed Wallace is a matchup nightmare.
Like I mentioned the Hawks preview, somehow I'm kind of getting excited about this team again, though it's still 3-26. It's awesome watching Durant operate at such an efficient level (25.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg and 51.1 percent from three in December), and Russell Westbrook is continuing to mature and improve. I'm still not totally sure if Jeff Green is "getting it" because he's still relatively inconsistent. And even the Nenad Krstic signing has injected a little life because help in on the way and it's pretty good help. The win against Toronto helped get people off OKC's back with the whole "worst team ever" talk and highlighted the improvement under Scott Brooks.
All that aside, we all know how tonight will turn out. The Thunder is likely looking at 3-27 and that's just not good for the first 30 games of a season. But each game I don't have the complete and total "no chance" feeling like I did a month ago. Granted, it's only like a one percent chance feeling, but I'm saying there's a chance.