Oklahoma City Thunder Game Previews: December 5 - December 11

After going 3-0 last week against the New York Knicks, Washington Wizards, and New Orleans Pelicans and having an overall record of 13-8, the Oklahoma City Thunder look to continue to build on their first place lead in the Northwest Division with another short three-game week this week. First, the Thunder head to Atlanta to face off against the Hawks, then they head back home for the beginning of a two-game home stand against the Houston Rockets and then the Boston Celtics a few days after.

Atlanta Hawks

Monday, 5 December 2016 at 07:30 PM ET Away

The first game in the Oklahoma City Thunder's week at Philips Arena against the Atlanta Hawks (10-11, 6-3 Home). For the Hawks, this does not look like the team that reached the Eastern Conference Finals two seasons ago. After losing DeMarre Carroll, Al Horford, and Jeff Teague to free agency over the years, the Hawks have had a major facelift with additions like Dwight Howard and promoting Dennis Schröder to the starting lineup. The team has not looked as dominant as of late with the team losing six games in a row and nine of their last ten games. The Thunder should not fall into this trap, though, as the Hawks are a formidable team that can attack from both inside and out.

For Oklahoma City, man oh man has Russell Westbrook been special this season. With averages of 31.0 points, 11.3 assists, and 10.8 rebounds, and a current five-game triple double streak, Westbrook looks to head to Atlanta to continue the streak and be the focal point of the Thunder offense. On the defensive side of the ball, Steven Adams will have his hands full with Hawks big man Dwight Howard who has averaged 13.7 points on 60.0% shooting to go along with 12.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. While the Hawks have been sliding lately, the Thunder should come in focused and ready to go to keep Atlanta's losing streak going.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Atlanta Hawks:

  • PG - Dennis Schröder
  • SG - Kyle Korver
  • SF - Kent Bazemore
  • PF - Paul Milsap
  • C - Dwight Howard
  • Injuries  - Paul Milsap (Hip, Day-to-Day), Tiago Splitter (Hamstring, Out Indefinitely)

Oklahoma City Thunder:

  • PG - Russell Westbrook
  • SG - Victor Oladipo
  • SF - Andre Roberson
  • PF - Domantas Sabonis
  • C - Steven Adams
  • Injuries - Steven Adams (Ankle, Day-to-Day), Cameron Payne (Foot, Out Indefinitely)

Houston Rockets

Friday, 9 December 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Home

After a few days off the Oklahoma City Thunder head back home to face off against former Thunder guard James Harden and the Houston Rockets (13-7, 9-5 Away). This will be the second time the Thunder have played the Rockets this season with the Thunder walking away victorious with a final score of 105-103. Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 30 points to go along with 9 assists and 7 rebounds. Ryan Anderson led the Rockets in scoring with 14 points along with 3 rebounds as well.

The biggest matchup for this game will be between Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook and Rockets point guard James Harden. Harden, who was once a shooting guard for the Thunder has thrived in his new role in Houston as the lead point for Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni. Harden has averaged 28.3 points to go along with 11.3 assists and 7.6 rebounds as well. Expect this game to be high scoring and to come down to the last defensive possession.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Houston Rockets:

  • PG - James Harden
  • SG - Eric Gordon
  • SF - Trevor Ariza
  • PF - Ryan Anderson
  • C - Clint Capela
  • Injuries  - Trevor Ariza (Back, Day-to-Day), Nene Hilario (Rest, Day-to-Day)

Oklahoma City Thunder:

  • PG - Russell Westbrook
  • SG - Victor Oladipo
  • SF - Andre Roberson
  • PF - Domantas Sabonis
  • C - Steven Adams
  • Injuries - Steven Adams (Ankle, Day-to-Day), Cameron Payne (Foot, Out Indefinitely)

Boston Celtics

Sunday, 11 December 2016 at 07:00 PM ET Home

The final game of the week for the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the second of a two-game home stand is against the Boston Celtics (12-8, 7-4 Away). The big key addition for the Celtics in the offseason was big man Al Horford, who finally gets to play his more traditional position of power forward after playing center for his entire time with the Atlanta Hawks. Horford has been steady for the Celtics with averages of 14.9 points and 6.5 rebounds, but the Celtics have struggled so far through the first quarter of the NBA season.

But, the Celtics are a strong team led by the smallest man on the court in Isaiah Thomas. Despite only being 5'9", Thomas has been sensational for the Celtics this season with averages of 26.3 points, 6.3 assists, and 2.7 rebounds. Russell Westbrook will have his defensive ability tested trying to contain Thomas as he also tries to have an offensive outburst of his own as well.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Boston Celtics:

  • PG - Isaiah Thomas
  • SG - Avery Bradley
  • SF - Jae Crowder
  • PF - Al Horford
  • C - Amir Johnson
  • Injuries  - None

Oklahoma City Thunder:

  • PG - Russell Westbrook
  • SG - Victor Oladipo
  • SF - Andre Roberson
  • PF - Domantas Sabonis
  • C - Steven Adams
  • Injuries - Steven Adams (Ankle, Day-to-Day), Cameron Payne (Foot, Out Indefinitely)

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