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Thunder Gameday: OKC Takes on Indiana Pacers in First Matchup of the Season

The Oklahoma City Thunder gets its first look at the Indiana Pacers this season in a cross-conference battle between two rising young teams.
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By the middle of March most NBA teams have seen all of their opponents at least once, but for the Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers, Tuesday night is the first time they'll look eye-to-eye. 

Both are two of the youngest rising teams in the league, spearheaded by elite guards in the form of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Tyrese Haliburton. Both players are having career years, so it'll be intriguing to see who outperforms the other tonight.

Oklahoma City is coming off a blowout win against the Memphis Grizzlies amid its effort to hold onto the Western Conference No. 1 seed, while No. 7-seeded Indiana just defeated the Orlando Magic. 

Both teams have momentum in equally successful seasons on their path to championship contention, but the Thunder would certainly like grab this win to hold off the Denver Nuggets' .5 game differential from the top seed. 

Jalen Smith, Indiana Pacers, Aaron Wiggins

Jalen Smith, Indiana Pacers, Aaron Wiggins


The Thunder enter the day as 6.5-point favorites over the Pacers, and the total over/under is 239.5 points.


Tuesday night will bring a battle between two of the NBA's top 3-point shooting teams. 

Oklahoma City holds the best percentage (39.4%) in the entire league, but Indiana doesn't fall behind at No. 6 with a 37.8% split. Both teams surround their star guard with weapons from behind the arc, allowing the floor to be opened up for them to work their magic. 

Because of this, the Thunder and Pacers are two of the three highest offensive rated teams in the NBA. It will be clash between two dominant offenses that could result in a high point amount, but Oklahoma City has the clear advantage on the defensive end. 

With a defensive rating of 111.3, the Thunder is also one of the highest performing defenses. Pioneered by rookie Chet Holmgren in the paint, it also has a heavy amount of elite perimeter defenders, including Luguentz Dort and Cason Wallace. This is a big discrepancy compared to the Pacers' 118.5 defensive rating, which lands as the sixth worst in the league. 

If Oklahoma City locks in on the defensive end, coming out on top will be much easier than having an offensive bloodbath. 


Oklahoma City Thunder (45-19) vs. Indiana Pacers (36-29)


Check out our live injury tracker, along with our game day injury report that will release later today.


Tuesday, March 12, at 7 p.m. CT


Paycom Center - Oklahoma City, OK


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The Thunder and Pacers have zero experience between each other this season, so it could be a toss-up in Paycom Center tonight. Both offenses have a lot of firepower, but Oklahoma City's defense could be a major factor.

Following the game, the Thunder will remain home to face the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, March 14 at 9:00 p.m. CT on TNT. 

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