Tonight, the New Orleans Hornets return to their former "home away from home" Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder. Oklahoma City gave their heart and soul to the Hornets a couple years ago, and now the Thunder may do the same as they will give the Hornets an opportunity to turns things around and get onto a two-game winning streak (the Thunder and Hornets will clash again on Saturday although that game will take place in New Orleans).
In addition to the return of the Hornets, tonight's game will be the Thunder's first on national television as ESPN will be doing the game. I'm not sure why the execs at ESPN decided that everyone in the country needed to see what a truly awful basketball team looked like, but they did, so hopefully OKC can get their act together and not play too awfully in front of the national audience.
The Hornets are 5-5 so far this season but have lost five of the last seven games after starting off 3-0. They suffered a depressing loss to the injury-ridden Kings on Wednesday and will be looking to rebound from that loss against the Thunder.
Statistically, the Hornets are fairly similar to the Thunder. They have one player averaging 20+ points per game (Chris Paul) and only two other supporting players averaging over 10 (David West and Peja Stojakovic). Ok, so West is almost averaging 20 points with his 19.3 and will likely be above 20 after the two game series, but the comparison is still pretty valid.
Compared to the other games on the scheduled, this one definitely one of the more winnable games for OKC. The Thunder will have to show something that they haven't in the past few games: the ability to play for a full 48 minutes. Assuming that this will be a competitive game, expect the winners to score in the lower 90s and the losers to be in the upper 80s. Unfortunately for the Thunder, the upper 80s have been where we've ended up the past three games.
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