Preview: Oklahoma City At Atlanta
When: 8:00 PM ET, Monday, November 30, 2015
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Kevin Durant is back and the Oklahoma City Thunder are rolling as they get set to face a pair of strong Eastern Conference teams on the road. The Thunder will kick off the brief trip by visiting the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.
Durant is averaging 30.3 points on 58.5 percent shooting in three games since returning from a hamstring injury and posted 34 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and three blocks in a 103-87 win over Detroit on Friday. “I was feeding off the energy of the crowd and the teammates,” Durant told reporters. “In single coverage I feel like I can score on anybody. I was aggressive.” The Hawks dropped two of three on their road trip and were crushed 108-88 at San Antonio on Saturday to match a season low for points scored. Al Horford scored 10 points and was the only starter to reach double figures in a game that got out of hand when Atlanta was outscored 31-12 in the second quarter.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Oklahoma, FSN Southeast (Atlanta)
ABOUT THE THUNDER (11-6): Getting Durant back into the lineup is allowing the team to develop some consistency at the offensive end, and Oklahoma City has won the last three games by an average of 16.3 points to stretch its overall winning streak to four straight. “The biggest thing I think is us continuing to grow, develop and get better – and I think that’s happening,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan told reporters. “It’s the consistency part of getting to that place. You’re never going to be perfect, but it’s understanding the value of every possession.” Oklahoma City outscored the Pistons 55-32 in the second half of Friday’s win over Detroit while Durant contributed to a 58-38 rebounding advantage.
ABOUT THE HAWKS (11-8): The Spurs used an 18-2 run early in the second quarter to turn Saturday’s game in their favor, during which Atlanta committed four turnovers. The Hawks have not won back-to-back games since a seven-game winning streak ended with a loss to Minnesota on Nov. 9, and they have been trading wins and losses over the last six contests. Atlanta averaged 113.3 points in its last three wins and 93.3 in the last three losses, and put all five starters in double figures during Friday’s 116-101 win at Memphis before falling off the pace at San Antonio.
1. The teams split two meetings last season, with the home team taking each.
2. Atlanta G Tim Hardaway Jr. is 3-of-13 from the field in four games since joining the rotation.
3. Oklahoma City G Russell Westbrook failed to score at least 20 points for the second time this season on Friday and totaled 11 turnovers before fouling out.
PREDICTION: Thunder 116, Hawks 109