Key Matchup vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Kemba Walker vs. Russell Westbrook
Two of the highest-scoring point guards in the league will look to lead their respective teams to a victory on Monday night when the Charlotte Hornets visit the hometown Oklahoma City Thunder.
Following a two-game absence from Nov. 29-Dec. 1 because of a left shoulder contusion, Kemba Walker has recovered nicely with averages of 24.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.8 steals over his last four outings for Charlotte. The seventh-year veteran has also been magnificent at the line with a career-high 5.5 free-throw makes per game this campaign (T-10th most in league).
Now in his 10th season with the Thunder, reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook continues to be one of the league’s most prolific statistical producers. The UCLA product currently ranks fifth amongst NBA point guards in scoring (22.8 points), first in both rebounding (9.3) and assists (league-leading 9.9) and third in steals (1.96) per game.
Although Westbrook and the Thunder are off to a relatively disappointing start following the high-profile offseason additions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, they are still a dangerous team with plenty of offensive firepower. With Oklahoma City currently averaging the fewest passes per game (260.0), Walker and the Hornets should look to stall the isolation-heavy Thunder as much as possible.