The Oklahoma City Thunder go for a third consecutive victory on Friday night when the winless Detroit Pistons come to the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Thunder return home after a hard-fought victory over the Chicago Bulls Thursday night in the Windy City.
Kevin Durant scored 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting over the final 6:35 to lead the Thunder for a comeback victory. It was a brutal battle of defensive intensity until Durant guided Oklahoma City back late.
"It was a tough 42 minutes we had and coach got us in a huddle and said these last six minutes we needed to do better," said Durant, the league's three-time defending scoring champion. "I thought we responded well to that, made our passes and found the shots."
The Bulls, always one of the best defensive teams in the league, did their part. They forced 22 Thunder turnovers and held them under 50 percent from the field, but the Thunder did their part on the defensive side. Oklahoma City kept the Bulls to 41.7 percent from the field and grunt guys like Serge Ibaka (21 points, nine rebounds and five blocks) and Thabo Sefolosha (seven rebounds and great man-to-man defense in a team-high 39 minutes) shined.
This was the first time the Thunder won back-to-back games this season. Odds look good for three in a row.
While the Pistons aren't the only winless team (Washington Wizards are 0-3), they have the most losses in the NBA. A win tonight, or the Pistons get off to their worst start since the 1980-81 Detroit squad that went 0-7 to begin the season. Two seasons ago, the Pistons opened 0-5.
The Pistons are the worst rebounding team in the league and their differential is minus-12 on the glass, also dead last in the NBA. They rank 28th in points allowed and teams shoot 47 percent against them, which puts them 25th.
"Until we have a defensive mindset the road is going to be very hard for us to win," admitted head coach Lawrence Frank after the team's 105-103 loss Wednesday to the Sacramento Kings.
The Pistons are in the middle of a six-game road trip.
Perhaps the lone bright spot for Detroit this season has been Greg Monroe. The big man is averaging 16.0 ppg. and 8.6 rpg and recorded his first career triple-double in Sacramento.
Guard Rodney Stuckey has been terrible. He's putting a putrid 6.4 ppg., but has played the second-most minutes on the roster.
The Thunder have won six straight against the Pistons and Detroit hasn't won in Oklahoma City since the team moved there before the 2008-09 season.