Last night, the Thunder played a perfect first half of the game. On one end suffocating defense and on the other unselfish offense. This style of play allowed Oklahoma City to earn an eighteen points lead going into halftime.
Then the blackout:
If you were expecting the Thunder to come out of the locker room still hungry, you couldn’t be more wrong. Boston started to figure things out while the Thunder’s defense came out flat and without fire. On offense, OKC started to miss good looks which fell in the first half. The lack of scoring impacted the defense confidence and little by little Boston ate all the Thunder’s lead away. When Boston took control of the game it was too late for Oklahoma City to reply, there was no mental energy and no legs left for the crunch time fight. The Celtics outscored the Thunder 64-39 in the second half.
Last night, Oklahoma City showed all the great things this team has to offer and, within the same game, all the horrible flaws this team can get rid off. There are some aspects of the game which need to be addressed, of course, but the Thunder should also concentrate on their positive first half. If they can figure out how to play that way over a whole game, then they will be just fine.
The defense played in the first half by the Thunder has been pure joy for any basketball lover. It’s been a long time since I saw everyone, and I say, everyone, so engaged on the defensive end of the floor. Perfect double teams, pick and roll coverage on point, communications, fighting for recovering loose balls, and aggressiveness on the boards. Hopefully, we will see more of this in the season.
Carmelo Anthony had indeed an off night. He finished with only 10 points on 3-17 shooting, and he missed all his five attempts from behind the arc. Especially in the second half, he kept on shooting, instead of moving the ball. It would have been the best option to unlock an otherwise stiff offense.
Jerami Grant played another solid game coming off the bench. He scored 11 points (5-7 FG), grabbed 2 rebounds, and blocked 1 shot in 23 minutes. I really like his development so far this season. Compared to last year, he is more controlling, more aware of his position, and a better finisher around the rim. It’s going to be interesting to see how Donovan will use Grant’s minute going forward.
The team’s record is not positive, but it’s still too early to press the panic button. The Thunder will need at least ten to fifteen more games to figure things out and to have a better idea of what this team can achieve. Last night we had a glimpse of it, and it has been exciting. I am sure, there will be more to come.
- FG% 40, 3PT% 37, FT% 78, REBOUNDS 48, ASSISTS 20, STEALS 4, TURNOVERS 12
- FG% 42, 3PT% 46, FT% 66, REBOUNDS 49, ASSISTS 23, STEALS 6, TURNOVERS 10
The Thunder will start their three games road trip in Portland, on Sunday night, against the Trailblazers. Tip-off 8 pm CT.