The Hornets will be in Oklahoma City on Friday night to take on the 33-15 Thunder, who are currently the #2 seed in the Western Conference. The Thunder have been one of the best teams in the NBA on balance this season, and winning this game would be a tall task for the 10-36 Hornets, even at full strength.
The Hornets enter the game on a 5-game losing streak and have lost 12 of their last 14 overall. The Thunder will take the floor after a nice win at home over the Nuggets, albeit without Nikola Jokic.
Leading up to that game, they had actually dropped back-to-back games to the Pistons and Timberwolves but had won 5 straight before that. The Thunder have been led by MVP candidate, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and rookie phenom, Chet Holmgren, who will both be in action tonight, but they will be missing a star and another key player.
Thunder Injury Report
The only two players listed on the Thunder injury report are Jalen Williams and Isaiah Joe, both of whom are listed as ‘OUT’ for tonight. Williams, the second-year phenom out of Santa Clara will miss his second straight game after leaving in the 4th quarter of the T-Wolves game with an ankle injury.
While SGA and Holmgren have gotten the bulk of the attention for OKC this year, Williams has been a revelation, arguably the team’s second-best player, and a borderline All-Star in just his sophomore season. He’s averaging 18,7 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.5 assists a game on 54/45/80 shooting splits, while being a plus defender.
The sharpshooter, Isaiah Joe, has carved out an important role for the Thunder as well, hitting over 42% of his three-point attempts and providing crucial floor spacing. He will also be out tonight with a chest injury.
Hornets Injury Report
On the Hornets' side of things, it’s the usual suspects all over the injury report. Mark Williams remains out with a back injury that has sidelined him since December 8th. Gordon Hayward is also out with a calf injury; he hasn’t played since December 26th. Kyle Lowry is also out, as he has not joined the team since his trade from the Heat.
The most notable update is that of LaMelo Ball’s status. Ball enters yet another game with a doubtful tag, due to an ankle injury. He appears to be in line to miss his fourth straight game due to the ankle issue.
This is setting up for another night of heavy involvement for Brandon Miller, Miles Bridges, and PJ Washington. The Thunder come into Friday night’s matchup as 15.5-point home favorites.