Oklahoma City Thunder Game Previews: December 19 - December 25

First things first, Happy Holidays from myself and the rest of the staff at Hashtag Basketball! Hopefully you spend it with your friends, family, loved ones and some NBA basketball! The Oklahoma City Thunder (16-11 Overall, 2nd Place Northwest Division) have a busy week starting off at home Monday against Dwight Howard and the Atlanta Hawks. After that the Thunder head to New Orleans to face Anthony Davis and the Pelicans. Two days later they ship off to Boston to face the Celtics. Finally on Christmas day the Thunder square off on national TV against Karl-Anthony Towns and the young Minnesota Timberwolves.

Atlanta Hawks

Monday, 19 December 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Home

The Oklahoma City Thunder open up their week at home against the Atlanta Hawks (13-14 Overall, 6-8 Away). This is the second and final time the Thunder will play the Hawks this season with the first game in Atlanta falling in the Thunders' favor 102-99. Russell Westbrook helped lead the Thunder to victory with a triple double, finishing with 32 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. Steven Adams also contributed 12 points and 10 rebounds and Victor Oladipo added in 14 points as well. Atlanta was led by Paul Millsap who finished with 24 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.

This game will be an interesting test for the Thunder as Atlanta has struggled out of the gate failing to meet the early season expectations many experts set for them. While the Thunder have been responding well to the loss of Kevin Durant.  Look for Russell Westbrook to have another big game against Atlanta and for him to carry the team to another close victory. Steven Adams will have his hands full with Dwight Howard and rookie Domantas Sabonis will try his hardest to contain Paul Millsap this time around.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Atlanta Hawks:

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

Oklahoma City Thunder:

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

New Orleans Pelicans

Wednesday, 21 December 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Away

After battling with the Atlanta Hawks at home the Oklahoma City Thunder hit the road to New Orleans to face Anthony Davis and the Pelicans (9-19 Overall, 6-9 Home). The Thunder have played the Pelicans once already this season with the Thunder walking away victorious with a final score of 101-92. Russell Westbrook, like he has all season, led the Thunder will a triple double finishing with 28 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists. Anthony Davis was a monster for the Pelicans finishing with 37 points, 15 rebounds and 4 blocks.

The Thunder should not take New Orleans lightly despite their poor record. Anthony Davis will be a test for Domantas Sabonis defensively and the Thunder will also put Steven Adams on Davis at times as well. All the Thunder want for Christmas is to keep winning and regain first place in the Northwest division and a win against the Pelicans would certainly help.

Projected Starting Lineups:

New Orleans Pelicans:

  • PG - Jrue Holiday
  • SG - Buddy Hield
  • SF - Solomon Hill
  • PF - Anthony Davis
  • C - Alexis Ajinca
  • Injuries  - Anthony Davis (Leg, Day-to-Day), Solomon Hill (Personal, Expected to Play), Tyreke Evans (Rest, Day-to-Day), Dante Cunningham (Knee, Day-to-Day), Quincy Poindexter (Knee, Out Indefinitely)

Oklahoma City Thunder:

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

Boston Celtics

Friday, 23 December 2016 at 07:30 PM ET Away

After playing the Pelicans in the Big Easy the Oklahoma City Thunder head up to Boston to face off against the Celtics (14-12 Overall, 6-5 Home). This will be the second and final time the Thunder face off against the Celtics this season with Oklahoma City winning the first game 99-96. Surprisingly without a triple-double, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook led Oklahoma City with 37 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists. Boston was led in scoring by a myriad of players in Al Horford, Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley. Horford finished with 19 points and 6 rebounds while Crowder and Bradley both had 18 points.

Expect this game to go down to the wire for Oklahoma City and not be an easy win despite Boston's poor home record. Celtics star guard Isaiah Thomas was missing from action last game with a groin injury and Boston sorely missed his averages of 26.0 points and 6.1 assists. With Thomas back in the fold Russell Westbrook will have his hands full on the defensive side of the ball but the offensive battle between both guards will be something to behold.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Boston Celtics:

  • PG - Isaiah Thomas
  • SG - Avery Bradley
  • SF - Jae Crowder
  • PF - Al Horford
  • C - Amir Johnson
  • Injuries  - Gerald Green (Hip, Day-to-Day)

Oklahoma City Thunder:

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

Minnesota Timberwolves

Sunday, 25 December 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Home

Finally the Thunder finish off their week on Christmas Day at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves (7-19 Overall, 4-9 Away) in these special uniforms. In a recurring theme this week this will be the second time the Thunder face the Timberwolves this season with the Thunder walking away victorious with a final score of 112-92. Russell Westbrook led the Thunder's starting rotation with 28 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 8 assists as well. Enes Kanter was also huge off the bench with 20 points and 10 rebounds. For Minnesota star center Karl-Anthony Towns was huge with 33 points to go along with 6 rebounds.

This game will be huge for Oklahoma City not only because it is on national television but also a pivotal matchup in the Northwest division. After dropping a game to the Utah Jazz the Thunder need to keep fighting to regain first place in the division and a win against the Timberwolves will certainly help. So sit back and take in what hopes to be a Christmas classic for Oklahoma City fans against the future of the NBA in the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Projected Starting Lineups:

Minnesota Timberwolves:

  • PG - Ricky Rubio
  • SG - Zach Lavine
  • SF - Andrew Wiggins
  • PF - Gorgui Dieng
  • C - Karl-Anthony Towns
  • Injuries  - None

Oklahoma City Thunder:

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

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