NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, November 4th (All times eastern)
Atlanta Hawks (0-1) at Oklahoma City Thunder (1-1), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were the highest-scoring duo in the NBA last season and it doesn't seem to be any different in 2012-13.
Oklahoma City's dynamic pair of teammates combined for 51.6 points per game a season ago and look to stay on track this evening versus the Atlanta Hawks at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Durant, a three-time scoring champion, and Westbrook scored 23 and 18 points, respectively, in a season-opening loss to the San Antonio Spurs, then combined for 55 points in Friday's 106-92 win over the promising Portland Trail Blazers. Westbrook poured in 32 points and Durant tallied 23 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists.
"We were running the floor better, finishing better and I thought our defense was great tonight," Westbrook said. "My job is just to stay in attack mode."
Kevin Martin, acquired in the deal that sent James Harden to Houston, came off the bench to post 19 points and Hasheem Thabeet had two of OKC's 10 blocks on the evening. Last season, the Thunder led the NBA in blocked shots at 8.2 BPG.
Reserve forward Nick Collison added 12 points versus Portland, as the Thunder bench outscored the Trail Blazers' extras by a 42-15 margin. Thunder center Kendrick Perkins sustained an ankle injury and is probable tonight.
OKC is in the midst of playing three straight and five of six home games.
Atlanta dropped a 109-102 decision versus the Houston Rockets in its season opener on Friday, as Harden lit up the Hawks with 45 points.
Newcomer Lou Williams led six players in double figures with 22 points off the bench and Josh Smith finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Al Horford and Jeff Teague both had 14 points for Atlanta, which hasn't started 0-2 since losing nine straight to open the 2005-06 campaign.
"We made a run, and they handled it well, they took it and got their composure back, so you have to give them credit," Horford said. "I don't think we played well enough to win the game tonight."
The Hawks are not expected to have Smith tonight because of a sprained right ankle. Smith has a lot on his shoulders this season after Joe Johnson was dealt to the Brooklyn Nets over the summer.
Atlanta has won its last two road openers and is 13-31 all-time in road lid-lifters.
The Hawks defeated Oklahoma City, 97-90, in the only meeting between the teams last season on March 3, ending a four-game slide in the series. The Thunder are 12-4 in the past 16 matchups between the two teams.
11/04 10:36:29 ET