The Thunder score a lot of points (114 PPG, 4th in NBA), but don’t shoot all that well (45.8% from the field) and struggle behind the arc at just over 34%. What they do very well is run the court and force other teams to play at its tempo. After hitting an early January stretch that saw them lose 5 of 6 games, the Thunder have now run off 5 wins in a row, including 2 in a row on the road. The team is led by a two-headed monster named Paul George (27.1 PPG) and Russell Westbrook, who is still averaging a triple-double with 21.6 PPG, 10.8 RPG and 10.7 APG. You don’t often see a guard lead his team in rebounding, which makes his stats all the more impressive.
The Orlando have to start planning for next season. The month of January has exposed this team as a team that needs a complete overhaul. They have a 4-10 record during the month and currently sit at 1-6 over its last 7 games. At home, they have lost 3 in a row, though every game was close. They rank at the bottom of most major offensive and defensive categories and don’t play particularly well together. C Nikola Vucevic is having a fine season, leading the team in scoring and rebounding at 20.6 PPG and 12.0 RPG respectively. Unfortunately, the Magic only have 5 players in double figures and no one else that plays with any level of consistency.
Prediction: In its last 5 games, the Thunder have won by an average of 8 PPG. The Magic have been keeping games close at home. There’s a sense OK City might control the pace and this could turn into an up-tempo game with both teams putting points on the board. Play over 221.5 (score – Oklahoma City 120-114)