Thunder Hoping To Make More Progress Against Pistons

By Randy Renner

Mostly because of their injury situation forcing all kinds of crazy lineups and rotations the Thunder have been wildly inconsistent so far this season.

Look no further than Wednesday's win in Boston. The first half was terrible pretty much all the way around. The second half, just the opposite as the Thunder took control on offense and defense and turned an early 15-point deficit into a 15-point win.

Tonight the Detroit Pistons roll into The Peake on a couple of flat tires. They've lost three straight games overall and all four they've played out on the road. Detroit has never come away with a win in OKC.

So it would seem the Thunder have a great chance to win two games in a row for the first time this season.

"We need to be sure we protect our paint," warned Thunder forward Serge Ibaka, "they've got really good big guys down low, so we have to protect our paint, I think that will be key."

The Pistons big man Andre Drummond was a load the last time Detroit played inside The Peake, scoring 22 points and pulling down 13 rebounds back on April 16th. But Drummond has struggled in the Pistons last two games scoring just four points while picking up 10 fouls.

Ibaka, who's been one of the best shot-blockers in the NBA over the years, is now a legitimate 3-point threat.

"Now (opponents) play me differently and that's something new to us and to myself."

Ibaka will continue to take threes if that's what the defense gives but he won't shy away from going inside too, whether on offense or defense. Though lately, the Thunder's reliance more and more on the zone has changed up the way he plays defense, especially when it comes to blocked shots.

"We've been playing a lot of zone, but that's not an excuse,  but it does kind of take away my position to block shots because I'm concerned more about the shooting guys, like the corner guys so it's changing my timing for blocked shots. But I'm gonna keep my focus on that and get back to block shots."

The Pistons rank near the bottom of the league in scoring (93.3 points) and field goal percentage (41.7) but they did break the 100 point mark in Wednesday's 107-103 loss to Washington.

"It's definitely frustrating, but it's a long season," point guard Brandon Jennings, who had a season-high 30 points, told reporters after the game. "All the work we put in since September 1st, I know is going to pay off."

It may eventually, let's just hope it doesn't tonight.

The Thunder may be able to get Perry Jones or Andre Roberson back off the injury list tonight but don't count out. Neither was out on the court when reporters were allowed onto the practice court.

Head coach Scott Brooks doesn't meet with reporters after shootaround so the next update on Jones and Roberson will be tonight before the game.

A Thunder win will get them to 4-6 on the season, which isn't too bad considering what they've been dealing with. A loss at home to the Pistons would be very disappointing even with everything the Thunder have had go wrong injury wise.

On a personal note, I will be in Deer Creek tonight doing the Antlers football playoff game with Del City tonight so Jeremy Griffin will keep you updated on the Thunder game.

Randy RennerComment