Detroit At Oklahoma City
When: 8:00 PM
ET, Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
With a fourth consecutive Northwest Division title secured, the Oklahoma City Thunder set their sights on clinching the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference when they host the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday as the NBA closes the curtain on the regular season. Oklahoma City can ensure a meeting with Memphis or Dallas in the playoffs and homecourt advantage for a potential second-round showdown with the Los Angeles Clippers with a victory or a Clippers' loss. Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks rested point guard Russell Westbrook in Monday's 101-89 setback at New Orleans, but the Thunder are expected to put their best on the court against Detroit.
As Oklahoma City gears up for a run at its first NBA championship, Detroit misses the playoffs for the fifth straight year. The Pistons will also have a new team president of basketball operations when they kick off the 2014-15 season as it was announced Monday that the contract of Joe Dumars would not be renewed. “It’s time to turn the page on a wonderful chapter and begin writing a new one,” Dumars, who accepted a role as executive adviser with the team, said in a statement.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, FSN Oklahoma (Oklahoma City)
ABOUT THE PISTONS (29-52): Dumars served as president since the start of the 2000-01 season and helped Detroit win its last NBA title in 2004, but didn't survive as the Pistons wrap up their fifth consecutive season with 30 or fewer victories. Detroit will sweat out whether it will keep its first-round draft pick in June's draft or relinquish it to Charlotte as a condition of the Ben Gordon trade in 2012, with the Pistons maintaining it if they finish Nos. 1-8 in the draft order. While Detroit has secured at least the eighth-worst record, it has an 82.4 percent chance of remaining in in the top eight depending on how the ping-pong balls bounce in the draft lottery.
ABOUT THE THUNDER (58-23): Durant (31.9 points per game) claimed his fourth scoring title in the last five years and has an excellent chance of usurping LeBron James and winning his first MVP, and has a fan in his top competition for the award. “I think K.D. has had one heck of a season,” James told reporters. “And, you know, if he’s rewarded with the MVP, it would be great.” With the strength of Westbrook's right knee in question after three surgeries since going down in the 2013 postseason, Durant could have to carry the Thunder on his shoulders even more to reach the ultimate goal of dethroning Miami and James as NBA champion.
1. Oklahoma City F Nick Collison was ejected from Monday's game following an altercation with New Orleans G Austin Rivers in the second quarter.
2. Detroit is 6-23 against the Western Conference, with the only victory against a playoff team coming at home against San Antonio 109-100 on Feb. 10.
3. Oklahoma City won the season's first meeting 119-110 behind 37 points from Durant and has won nine straight encounters since a 90-88 loss at Detroit on Dec. 26, 2008.
PREDICTION: Thunder 109, Pistons 92
Stats and Records
Oklahoma City Off vs
106.1 Points For
104.6 Points Against