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Tuesday, March 4, 2014, 8:00PM at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

TV: Comcast SportsNet | Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic FM

by Max Rappaport, Sixers.com
Posted: March 3, 2014

Going into February’s All-Star Break, the Oklahoma City Thunder boasted a 23-3 record at Chesapeake Energy Arena. In the week and a half since, they’ve seen their home loss total double, suffering consecutive losses to the Heat, Clippers, and Cavaliers before notching back-to-back wins against the Grizzlies and Bobcats in their latest two outings. 

Tuesday, the Sixers travel to the Sooner State to try their hand against the Western Conference-leading Thunder.

Matchup to Watch
PG: Michael Carter-Williams vs. Russell Westbrook
The last time the Sixers and Thunder met, in a 103-91 Philadelphia loss at home on January 25, Russell Westbrook (knee surgery) did not suit up, so Tuesday’s game will mark rookie Michael Carter-Williams first meeting with the explosive Thunder point guard. 

Since returning to action on February 20, Westbrook has averaged 20.0 points (48.5 FG%), 5.6 assists, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.8 steals in five appearances.

Over Carter-Williams’ last five, he’s averaged 17.0 points (40.3 FG%), 6.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.2 steals, logging a double-double and finishing with 17 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists in Sunday’s loss to the Orlando Magic. 

Trending Topics
Thad since the Deadline
In the absence of Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes, both of whom were involved in deals on February 20th's trade deadline, veteran forward Thaddeus Young has seen his role in the Sixers’ offense increase. In 52 games prior to the deadline, he attempted 14.9 field goals per game and had a usage rate of 22.9%, but in the five games since, he’s attempted 21.0 shots per game and has seen his usage rate jump to 28.4%. For reference, forwards Kevin Love and Blake Griffin both have usage rates of 28.7%, ranking top 10 in the league in that category. During the stretch, Young’s averaged 24.6 points (47.6 FG%), 6.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 4.0 steals.

Earning It at the Stripe
With the addition of reserve point guard Eric Maynor last week, second-year guard Tony Wroten has transitioned into an off-guard role. But that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to attack the rim as a ballhandler. On the season, Wroten ranks tenth in the league in free-throw rate, getting the line 6.9 times per 36 minutes. To give you an idea of how that compares amongst his peers, LeBron James gets to the line 7.3 times per 36 minutes and Carmelo Anthony does so 6.6 times per 36. Since the deadline, he’s increased that number to 9.7 FTA per 36 minutes, better than Dwight Howard (9.3), James Harden (9.0), DeMarcus Cousins (9.0), Blake Griffin (9.0), and Kevin Durant (8.7). Over that stretch, he’s converted 73.0% of his free throws.

Watch Party
Chickie’s and Pete’s, 1526 Packer Avenue, South Philadelphia
During Tuesday night’s game, the Sixers are hosting a Watch Party presented by Coors Light, so come on down to Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia and enjoy the game alongside fellow fans and members of the Dream Team and Flight Squad! There will be interactive games, giveaways, $2 Coors Light, and much more. The party starts at 7:30pm. See you there!

Tale of the Tape
Category Sixers (15-45) Thunder (45-15)
PPG Thaddeus Young – 17.7 Kevin Durant – 31.2
RPG Thaddeus Young – 6.2 Serge Ibaka – 8.8
APG Michael Carter-Williams – 6.2 Russell Westbrook – 6.7
SPG Thaddeus Young – 2.2 Russell Westbrook – 1.8
BPG Michael Carter-Williams – 0.7 Serge Ibaka – 2.5