NBA Basketball

117
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Atlanta 28 22 31 36 117
Oklahoma City 28 36 18 38 120
120
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CTNaN:� , December 22, 2017
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma  Attendance: 18,203

Bad news for Hawks: OKC's Westbrook heating up

According to STATS
According to STATS

Atlanta Hawks at Oklahoma City Thunder

  1. This will be the first meeting between the Hawks and the Thunder in 2017-18. Oklahoma City has scored 100+ points in each of the last five games in this series, but has gone just 3-2 in those contests.
  2. The Hawks (.618) are one of five teams that are assisting on more than 60 percent of their field goals in 2017-18. Atlanta has had 25+ assists in each of its last five games, but is 1-4 in those contests.
  3. Oklahoma City is coming off a 107-79 win over Utah on Wednesday. The Thunder held the Jazz to just nine points in the first quarter of that contest. It was the third time this season that they have allowed fewer than 10 points in any quarter (excluding OTs).
  4. John Collins had 18 points (on 6-for-7 from the floor) and nine rebounds in Wednesday's loss to Indiana. Collins is averaging 11.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 60.6 FG% in 2017-18; those rank seventh, third and first, respectively, among qualifying rookies.
  5. Russell Westbrook has shot 59.3 (35/59) percent from the floor over his last three games after making just 38.4 percent of his field-goal attempts in his first 28 contests.
  6. Steven Adams is averaging 8.8 points on 68.3 percent shooting in the first half of games this season, compared to 4.8 PPG on 56.4 percent from the field after halftime.

OKLAHOMA CITY -- For the first time since beating Milwaukee on Halloween, Oklahoma City is over .500.

The Thunder will carry a 16-15 record into a Friday night matchup against Atlanta, a team that's far below that mark at 7-24 - good for the worst record in the NBA.

It will mark the Hawks' only trip to Oklahoma City this season.

A big reason for Oklahoma City's resurgence is its reigning-MVP point guard. Russell Westbrook shot 59.3 percent from the floor in his three previous games, a mark he hasn't met since Oct. 22-27.

In the blowout win against the Jazz, Westbrook poured in 27 points.

"That's the most important part, you have to have fun and embrace this game," Westbrook told reporters after the win. "You don't take it for granted. You go out and compete and you have fun at the same time."

With wins against Denver and the Jazz, the Thunder are on a two-game win streak and have won four of their last five.

Meanwhile, the Hawks are getting outscored by 5.3 points per game, the fourth-largest per game deficit in the NBA.

Though Atlanta dropped Wednesday night's game to the Pacers, the team managed to squeak past the Heat earlier in the week for its second win in the month of December.

"There was just a few basic, fundamental plays, a couple in transition, a couple offensive boards," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the Atlanta Journal Constitution after the 105-95 loss to the Pacers. "You have to commit to doing that for 48 minutes. You have to commit to getting back in transition defense. You have to commit to being good on the defensive boards, getting hits.

"Make an unselfish play. You may not get the rebound but a teammate will get it. We are standing there watching Thaddeus Young tip the ball back in. (They were) getting transition plays. Those kind of plays just set the tone for us not being able to maintain that level of play, that attention to detail, that focus that it takes for 48 minutes."

The Hawks might enter Friday night's game a little short-handed with starting point guard Dennis Schroder listed as questionable with an unspecified injury to his left ankle.

While Schroder's status is up in the air, the Hawks figure to get a boost from rookie John Collins, who was recently ranked as the fifth-best rookie by ESPN. Against the Pacers, Collins scored 18 points off the bench. He's averaging 11.4 points per game in 23 minutes on the court.

Atlanta is also getting good production from beyond the arc out of second-year player Taurean Prince. Prince is knocking down 32.4 percent of his long-range shots.

After missing two games, center Steven Adams played against the Jazz on Wednesday. Adams is expected to be available against the Hawks. Though guard Paul George has been experiencing tightness in his right forearm that's affected his shooting, his playing status isn't expected to be impacted.

George told reporters that he's been regularly icing it after games.

"It's been a little wacky for me to start this year out," he told The Oklahoman. "I've been trying to work through that. Once everything gets completely smoothed out, I'll be back knocking down the mid-range. I'll be back comfortable in that mid-range area."

Updated December 21, 2017

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