Atlanta Hawks (14-9, 6-5 road) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (13-8, 9-3 home), 7PM CST at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City
Offensive Rating*: Thunder 110.1 (2nd), Hawks 105.6 (9th)
Defensive Rating*: Thunder 103.1 (20th), Hawks 103.4 (16th)
Simple Rating System**: Thunder 6.01 (3rd), Hawks 2.19 (12th)
*An estimate of points produced or allowed per 100 possessions
**A team rating that takes into account strength of schedule and point differential. Zero is league average.
The Thunder look to improve their win streak to three games and seek revenge against the Hawks, who won a close contest against OKC on November 30th.
Atlanta started the season 7-1, looking like the 60 win team from last season, but have struggled as of late, losing five of their last eight. This is the last meeting between Oklahoma City and Atlanta this season, so the Hawks are looking to sweep the season series against the Thunder.
OKC’s frontcourt has done well lately defensively, more or less shutting down quality bigs like DeMarcus Cousins, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. They’ll certainly have their hands full with all-star caliber players like Paul Millsap and Al Horford.
Non-obvious player to watch, Detroit: Dennis Schröder. The German product has gotten better each season of his young career. So far he’s been stuck behind all-star Jeff Teague, so he’s struggled to gain consistent playing time. Still, he’s upped his point and assist average slightly, while cutting his turnover percentage. He’s got the tools to be a star, and if he can ever get out from behind Teague he could break out.
Non-obvious player to watch, Oklahoma City: Steven Adams. The Hawks’ free-flowing offense is similar to what the Spurs and Warriors run, so the ball will be moving and moving quickly. Adams will have his hands full containing Al Horford, much less worrying about help and pick & roll defense.