Hornets at Thunder
Derek Fisher is set to make his season debut with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday against the visiting New Orleans Hornets, who have lost seven in a row to the Thunder. Fisher, who asked for his release from Dallas earlier this season, returns to Oklahoma City after playing 20 games for the Thunder last season. The five-time NBA champion fills a void on the roster after backup point guard Eric Maynor was traded to Portland last week.
New Orleans has dropped four of its last five games, including a 101-97 loss at home to Brooklyn on Tuesday. Guard Eric Gordon, second on the team in scoring at 16.6 points per game, is not expected to play against the Thunder since he’s been sitting out the back end of recent back-to-back games while recovering from a knee injury. Oklahoma City, which won the first three meetings against New Orleans this season by an average of 13.3 points, stands three games behind first-place San Antonio in the Western Conference playoff race.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Fox Sports New Orleans, Fox Sports Oklahoma
ABOUT THE HORNETS (20-38): New Orleans received a scare on Tuesday when rookie forward Anthony Davis left the game in the third quarter after clutching his left shoulder. Coach Monty Williams said Davis could have returned, but he decided to rest the power forward as a precaution. Point guard Greivis Vasquez, who is second in the NBA in assists (9.5) behind injured Boston point guard Rajon Rondo, had 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists against Brooklyn. Vasquez’s 22 double-doubles ranks first in the NBA among guards. Center Robin Lopez has played well over the last two games, averaging 13 points and seven boards. He had eight rebounds in a 92-88 loss to the Thunder on Dec. 12.
ABOUT THE THUNDER (41-15): In addition to Fisher, swingman Ronnie Brewer is also expected to join the Thunder lineup on Wednesday. Brewer was acquired from the New York Knicks at the trade deadline in a move designed to boost Oklahoma City's defense. The Thunder have won nine of their last 10 meetings at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, including a dominant 30-point victory over Chicago on Sunday. Forward Kevin Durant, who leads the league in scoring at 28.8 points per game, has averaged 27.3 points in three wins over New Orleans this season. The Thunder should be well rested after their starters sat out the fourth quarter of Sunday’s rout of Chicago.
1. Oklahoma City is 24-8 when Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant each score 20-plus points.
2. The Hornets are 2-25 when their opponent scores 100-plus points.
3. Oklahoma City owns an 18-1 record at home against Western Conference opponents.