Well last time we played the Thunder they beat us 89-85...so we can be competitive against them. Granted....I believe they were without Westbrook in that game, still pretty competitive game.
This game will be undoubtedly be tougher then the last time we played them considering Westbrook is back and they're at home. Westbrook is not a good match up for us especially Kemba. He's taller and just as quick and I believe the Thunder are going to be looking to isolate that matchup against Walker. The good news is the Thunder are prone to experience enigmatic losses against less talented teams from time to time. Hopefully this will be our day.
The big question is going to be our offensive cohesion and growth since the deadline trade. Against the Spurs the lack of chemistry with our newly aquired players was almost tangible. Swing passes that would have led to open 3's were a half second late. Kemba appeared unsure of the best way to play with Neal, even though Neal was solid individually. We could see how Ridnour was a true PG, he made some perfect set up passes, but still it seemed that the rest of the team didn't seem to be moving without the ball while he was in the game....which must be done with a true PG. They're used to the drive and kick tendencies of Kemba and Sessions. I've mentioned before that even though Ridnour is a great shooter, high IQ, and a consummate pro I'm not sure if he's a good fit here because of his inability to drive.
I do know that it's impossible to have a firm evaluation of how our new players fit in based upon their first game together against a great team. Still 81 points is low, and I was disappointed with the lack of intensity that they appeared to finish the game with.
Defensively we've done some good things, but we're terrible at guarding the three against a team that has good ball movement. If the Spurs played the first half (the first quarter really) like the second half they would have scored well over 100. There were all sorts of miscommunications on defense as expected when you add new players to the mix.....so we need to tighten that up.
This was why I wasn't a big fan of this trade. It's not that Neal and Ridnour aren't good....just by the time they figure out how to play together there might not be much of a chance to grab the sixth seed and avoid the Pacers and the Heat. Which is a 99.9999999 percent chance of a first round sweep and at best a (4-1) series final. This would nullify any positives that come out of that trade.
Either way.....I'm looking forward to the Bobcats proving me wrong. Go Cats beat the Thunder!
So that's going to be the story of this game.