Keys to Beating the Thunder
Big Play Important in OKC

By Matt Rochinski
October 14, 2012

Byron Mullens vs. Cole Aldrich

Byron Mullens is averaging a team-high 15.7 points to go with 6.3 rebounds and 1.00 block through three preseason games… Has scored 14-or-more points in every game and connected on 45.5 percent of this 3-point attempts (10 of 22)… Has been consistent beyond the arc with at least three treys in each of his three starts… Third-year center Cole Aldrich has been getting some solid run for OKC in the preseason, averaging 10.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.00 blocks in two starts while averaging a team-high 32.5 minutes… Mullens and Aldrich are two young bigs on the upswing, and their inside-out matchup could be the difference in this one.

The Bobcats opened their preseason slate with a 100-88 win over Washington on October 7 at Time Warner Cable Arena® before dropping two close contests to the New Orleans Hornets… Newcomer Ben Gordon has been impressive for the Cats so far, averaging 15.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in three games, scoring 15, 15 and 16 points respectively in those contests… Look for Gordon to be a key contributor off the bench this season. He’s averaging 25.5 minutes as a reserve in two games and got the start against New Orleans last game… Gordon also protects the ball well, having turned it over just twice in three preseason games… Co-captain Gerald Henderson has shown a nice all-around game for Charlotte in the preseason, averaging 12.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steal in three games… Henderson has done a solid job attacking the rim and has gone to the line 19 times in the preseason. Now he needs to work on his stroke from the charity stripe, where he’s only connecting on 68.4 percent of his freebies.

The Thunder return home for the first time this preseason after opening with road losses to Houston in Hidalgo, TX and at the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah… The defending Western Conference Champions have mixed things up with their roster in the preseason. Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka have only played in one game apiece, while Kevin Durant is averaging 11.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in 19 minutes in two games… Westbrook leads OKC with 19 points in his lone preseason game.

The Bobcats will tip off in Oklahoma City at 8 p.m. on October 16… Listen to the game on WFNZ and join Matt Rochinski of for the live chat from Chesapeake Energy Arena.