Last night in Utah, the Thunder dropped their first game of the season: 87-96.
Utah is known to be a team who plays at a slow pace: fewer possessions and consequentially fewer points. However, Thunder’s defense was alright. Little mistakes on pick and roll coverage, sloppy rotations from time to time but the real problems were on the other side of the floor.
Oklahoma City started the game with three consecutive baskets to go 6-0. Utah responded with a 20-6 run, took control of the game, and from there on the Thunder trailed the whole time.
There were a couple of moments where it felt like the Thunder were able to come back into the game: by the end of the first half (15-6 run), and at the beginning of the 4th quarter (12-3 run). Despite the effort, Oklahoma City was never able to close the gap with the Jazz completely.
Thoughts and Stats
- The Thunder won’t finish the season 82-0. That’s a shame, but no one expected that right?
- There will be a lot of games like this one to start the season, and it’s normal. If the team wants to be ready by April, this is a phase they will have to face.
- Westbrook had a bad game. He tried very hard to get everyone involved, maybe even too hard. It felt like he was out of rhythm, maybe a bit tired (I know how this sounds, but most of his shots were just short at the rim). He finished with 6 points (2-11 FG, 1-4 FT), 13 rebounds, 9 assists, and 7 turnovers.
- Carmelo Anthony took the majority of the shots on offense, most of them were two-pointers outside the paint. He finished with a team-high 26 points. He added also 3 rebounds and 2 assists.
- Paul George finished the game with 22 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists. George didn’t shoot the ball particularly well: 8-19 from the floor with a 3-9 from behind the arc. He hesitates to attack the rim every time Gobert was in the paint. He passed up a couple of easy buckets which translated into turnovers. The Thunder need him to be more aggressive. He has the tools to put an opponent in fouls trouble.
- Roberson played only 13 minutes. His defensive support wasn’t particularly needed last night and Donovan preferred to play Alex Abrines in his place.
- I thought Felton had a good game. He is a very active and physical on defense while on offense he created his shot and scored. Raymond finished with 8 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 2 steals.
- The Thunder ended with more turnovers (17) than assists (15). This is indeed not good.
- Oklahoma City shot 41% from the floor, 33% from behind the arc, and 63% from the free throw line.
The Thunder will play at home tonight against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tip-off at 6 P.m. CT.