Apr 6, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Danny Granger (33) lays the ball in as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) falls to the ground at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeated Oklahoma City 103-98. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder: Preseason Preview

Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder


Oklahoma City Thunder Off Season Recap

The Thunder didn’t do much this off season and with good reason. They were runner ups in the NBA Finals, so they have a good group of players already in place.  The Thunder have to figure out if they want to give an extension to James Harden when the time comes.  They did give out an extension to Coach Scott Brooks, who looks to be the perfect fit for this team.  He’s got the right formula working, so it was very important to keep the head coach around. Also, Serge Ibaka was given a big deal, so he’ll be around for the next four years.  There were a couple of other moves made by the Thunder as they picked up Haseem Thabeet, who looks to ressurect his career in Oklahoma City.  For a guy to be called a bust right after he was drafted isn’t good.  This is the perfect opportunity for him to show if he’s worthy something.  There was the signing of Hollis Thompson, an undrafted shooting guard from Georgetown.  He should get a look in the preseason  and the Thunder can go from there.  Also, Daniel Orton comes to the Thunder as a high flying athletic guy, which is the way the Thunder can play at times.  He should be a good fit there.

Where do the Thunder go this coming season?  They’ve got the right team here, so they need to step up and win it in the NBA Finals.  Maybe getting there last season was a bit early, and this season they can work out what problems came out in those Finals.  They will have some tough competition from the Lakers, and it’s a coin toss as to who’s the team to beat in the West.  I think we’ll see those teams in the Conference Finals if it works out that way.  Anything less than a long playoff run would have to be a disappointment for this young Thunder team.

Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder Match Up

Here’s going to be a fun one to watch.  Last season, the teams met once, and even as a Pacers fan, I was surprised the Pacers handled the Thunder the way they did.  Even building up a 24 point lead.  The Pacers had to scramble at the end to hold off the Thunder, but they held their own and won.

This year, the Pacers will travel to Oklahoma City, where some people say it’s the loudest arena they’ve encountered.  That will be a test for the Pacers, but they should be able to stand up to it.  It should be a physical game with Serge Ibaka banging in the post with David West and Roy Hibbert.  The bench of the Thunder has the advantage of the Sixth Man of the Year in James Harden, so that could actually be the key to the game.

Beyond looking at the top guys in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, whose ever bench is able to hold the lead or build the lead will probably win the game.  If it comes down to a close one, and there’s a shot on the line, I have to give the advantage to the Thunder with the ability of Kevin Durant.  Last season, he seemed to embrace that clutch role, and I imagine he’ll be there for that last shot.

I think both teams win at home, and I wish we could see a NBA Finals match up of these two teams.  You would have two small market teams battling it out for the title. Sure, the Thunder have a couple of star players, but it’s Oklahoma, how “big market” can that be?  That’s why it would be such a fun match up and one that I doubt the NBA would be excited about.  But it would show that two teams from the smaller areas can do something and win in this big market league.

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