OKLAHOMA CITY, Sporting Alert — Russell Westbrook will lead a new-look Oklahoma City Thunder when they open their season against the New York Knicks at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Thursday night.
The game will be televised nationally on TNT and stream live on Watch TNT, starting at 8:00 pm ET.
UPDATE: Starting tonight for the New York Knicks: Ramon Sessions, Tim Hardaway Jr., Enes Kanter, Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee.
Oklahoma City newly acquired Carmelo Anthony, the former Knicks star, will take on his ex-club for the first time since leaving and the experienced forward will certainly head into the game with a chip on his shoulder.
He revealed on Wednesday that this gives him the perfect opportunity to close his “chapter” with the organization.
“This is an important game for me because it’s an opportunity for me to kind of go out there and kind of close that chapter,” he said.
“I don’t think that chapter has been closed yet. I think tomorrow with me running out there on the court in a different uniform kind of closes that chapter.
“My first couple of years was exciting, was fun. We set out to do some great things. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.
“But I won’t let the last two or three years overshadow the amount of fun I had in New York and being in New York.”
Besides Anthony, the Thunder will unveil another summer recruit – Paul George – on Thursday and the former Indiana Pacers forward is looking forward to starting his new life adventure.
Reigning league MVP Westbrook carried the Thunder last season and is anticipated to be the lead man again this campaign.
However, with the addition of George and Anthony, things are shaping up well on the offensive side, which means the energetic scoring point guard doesn’t have to do everything on his own anymore.
At the same time, Westbrook admitted that the focus this season will strongly be on the defensive end, as they seek to generate the balance.
New York failed to win a single game in its five-game preseason schedule and will start Thursday night’s contest as a 12.5 point underdog.
The contest will also see Enes Kanter coming up against OKC for the first time since his trade and he too will be aiming to lay down a mark on his season debut.
Kristaps Porzingis, who was one of the few bright sparks for New York in a depressing season last year for the fans, will start his career as the main man on the roster.
Courtney Lee, Doug McDermott, Tim Hardaway Jr., Michael Beasley and Ramon Sessions are just some of the hand-picked names expected to support for Porzingis for the Knicks this season.
Jarrett Jack and Mindaugas Kuzminskas will be the Knicks’ two inactives tonight, according to coach Jeff Hornacek.