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Game Day #82: vs. Pistons – Regular Season Finale

OKC Thunder (21-4, 8-4 away) vs. Detroit Pistons (21-5, 9-2 home)

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Where: The ‘Peake!
When: 7:00pm 
TV:
 FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 676-5, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27, U-Verse 751/1751 HD)
Online Streamhere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: Oklahoma City is a 14-pt favorite. O/U is 214.
Projected Lineups:

Thunder Pistons
PG:  Russell Westbrook  Brandon Jennings
SG:  Thabo Sefolosha  Rodney Stuckey
SF:  Kevin Durant  Kyle Singler
PF:  Serge Ibaka  Greg Monroe
C:  Kendrick Perkins  Andre Drummond

Oklahoma City is a fight for the Number two overall seed in the Western Conference with the Los Angeles Clippers. It’s their own fault. Oklahoma City held a three game advantage before losing the last two games and now face a must win situation against Detroit if they were to control their own destiny.

They didn’t help themselves by losing to the fledgling New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night. Oklahoma City fell 101-89, without Russell Westbrook, to the Pelicans. Oklahoma City allowed Tyreke Evans to score a career high 41 points on the Thunder.

“I’m not making any excuses,” said Kevin Durant on the Pelican’s loss. “They got what wanted on the offensive end and it felt like we just out of it.”

The Pistons (29-52) are hoping to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat as they wrap up another disappointing season. Joe Dumars stepped down as Detroit’s president of basketball operations one day after Sunday’s 116-107 loss to Toronto.

“It’s been tough,” guard Rodney Stuckey said. “From day one, our mindset was making the playoffs, and unfortunately we didn’t do that. We underachieved, and now we’re going home. There’s always next year. … To be honest, I really don’t know what we need. That’s not my decision.”

The Oklahoma City Thunder are completely healthy and will have all players at their disposal.

For Detroit, Josh Smith is questionable for tonight’s contest with a knee injurry. They’ll also be without Chauncey Billups and Josh Harrellson. They’re both out indefinitely with knee injuries. Will Bynum is also out for the season with a foot injury.

Oklahoma City holds the slim 64-62 lead over the Detroit Pistons in their historic franchise’s histories. However, since the Thunder moved from Seattle, Oklahoma City owns the 9-1 series lead. The Thunder are 5-0 at the ‘Peake since the relocation and have won eight straight over the Pistons

Keys to the Game

Early execution
Oklahoma City needs to find a way to eliminate the Pistons early. It’ll give the starters and other veterans rest throughout a game in which they shouldn’t even be playing in. Oklahoma City can jump on the Pistons by halftime, we could see the starters rest in the second half. If not, could make for an exhausted starting line up, leading to frustrations and maybe more technicals.

Rebound
Oklahoma City did a poor job of rebounding against New Orleans and Indiana. When the Thunder are able to limit second chance opportunities, they give themselves a better opportunity to win games. Heck, that’s something most teams do well when they rebound. They’ll have to step up and do better when playing the Pistons.

Bench Mob
The bench has really struggled in their past two losses. Caron Butler and Reggie Jackson will have to stand up and perform well, even against a team of the caliber of the Pistons. No way is Oklahoma City going to win and not have the bench contribute. They’ll have to figure it out quickly tonight.

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Founder & Editor-in-Chief. Member of the Professional Basketball Writer's Association. Lover of Advanced Stats. Russell Westbrook apologist.


ThunderObsesssed.com 2014