Shoot-around Report: Mohammed to Start Tonight vs. Pacers

The big news coming out of shoot-around this morning is that newly acquired center Nazr Mohammed will not only play, he will start tonight at center against the Indiana Pacers.

“That’s word I got,” Mohammed said when asked by reporters. “I’m just going to go out and play hard.”

“Nazy”, as he likes to be called, said he’s feeling pretty comfortable with the Thunder playbook.

“Yeah, I feel pretty solid," he said. "Across the league, everyone runs something similar, just different name calls and I’m starting to get that down now, so I’m ready to go.”

Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said he isn’t worried about any confusion Mohammed might feel during the game.

“He’s had a chance to review our video playbook and he feels comfortable with it,” Brooks said. “All the guys are going to be patient with him. Russell (Westbrook) will orchestrate where he needs to be if he’s not in the right spot, and worst case, he goes and sets a pick on the ball or a pin-down for KD (Kevin Durant) and he should be all right with that.”

There is also a bit of adjustment learning what his new teammates like to do in certain situations and for them to learn about Mohammed’s tendencies.

“I’ve watched them on film and I’ve played against them, but at the same time, you never really truly know a guy until you’ve played with him and see him every day,” Mohammed said.

And the Thunder is learning a little more about the big man, too. For instance, turns out he’s not just a presence down low, he has a pretty good mid-range game, too.

“I know that he can shoot out to 16-17 feet,” Brooks said. “He has a nice little post-up game. He’s making shots pretty consistently in practice. which is good to see. I feel that he’s going to play well for us.”

THIS AND THAT

  • The Pacers are coming in on the second night of a back-to-back. Indiana beat Golden State, 109-100, last night in Indianapolis. Danny Granger had 27 points and was 16-for-16 from the free-throw line. The Pacers overall were 32-for-36 from the line.

  • Earlier this season, the Thunder beat Indiana, 110-106, in overtime in Indianapolis. Russell Westbrook was the game’s leading scorer with a career-high 43 points. Westbrook added eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals that night.

  • The Pacers have lost four of their last seven games, but are 10-5 now under interim coach Frank Vogel. Vogel replaced Jim O’Brien and Jan. 31.

  • The Pacers are averaging 105.9 points per game over that stretch; they were scoring 97.8 ppg through Jan. 31.

  • The Thunder will be going for its first series sweep against the Pacers for the first time in four years.

  • Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. inside Oklahoma City Arena. You can see the game on Fox Sports Oklahoma and listen to it on the Thunder Radio Network.