Thunder Stories

Another Strong Performance Lifts OKC over Dallas

Despite the absences of Carmelo Anthony (lower back pain) and Steven Adams (Calf injury), the Thunder notched their second win in a row.

The Dallas Mavericks aren’t much of a strong team, but they troubled Oklahoma City in the first half. It wasn’t a pretty half of basketball, mainly because both teams couldn’t hit shots with consistency or create any decent offense. After 24 minutes of playing time, the score was to 44-42 in Thunder’s favor.

After the break, Oklahoma finally changed the game: they were able to flip the switch on offense and exploded for a total of 39 points. This is for them a season high for a single quarter and was led by Westbrook and George, both scored 16 points. The Mavs didn’t have the players to keep up with this type of firepower and the Thunder entered the last quarter with a 16 points lead. From there on, Oklahoma City easily cruised until the final buzzer.

Five Thoughts

  • Paul George has been incredible in this past two games. He combined for a total of 79 points while shooting 25/44 from the floor, 11/19 from behind the arc, and 18/22 from the free throw line. Most likely these numbers are not sustainable on the long run but, his defensive effort and offensive aggressiveness can be a huge impact. This is exactly the type of player the Thunder were expecting George to be when they traded for him.
  • Russell Westbrook played a bad first half and an outstanding second half. The only adjustment from his side during the halftime break has been only his pair of shoes. After the game, he downplayed the change of shoes being the reason for his improvement, but he really made it looked like two different type of players out there. However, one constant during the game was his ability to hit free throws again. He finished 12-13 from the line, considering his trend this season, that’s very promising and a needed improvement.
  • Josh Huestis and Dakari Johnson have been two pleasant surprises. When given meaningful playing time, Huestis never disappointed. Last night he had a career-high of nine points on 3-7 shooting from behind the arc. Josh is forcing the opposing defense to guard him while on the other end, despite being still a bit rough (he fouled out yesterday), he is holding his ground.
  • What Johnson could do was unknown when the Thunder signed him on a rookie deal. He did an outstanding job in the D-League, but it’s hard to know how that will translate into the NBA. Well, after replacing Adams for these past two games, I am pretty impressed and satisfied. Comparable to Huestis, he is not afraid of taking offense responsibilities. His defense is still work in progress but the Thunder might have found a player who could give Adams some rest during a long season.
  • I really liked what I saw from Jerami Grant last night. He is playing with more composure, under control on both ends of the floor, and he is looking more confident. Last night, he finished with 10 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and a huge block on Smith Jr.

Stats

OKLAHOMA CITY

  • FG% 50.0, 3P% 46.9, FT% 75.8%, ASSISTS 21, REBOUNDS 37, STEALS 10, TURNOVERS 15

DALLAS

  • FG% 42.5, 3P% 29.7, FT% 77.8%, ASSISTS 18, REBOUNDS 41, STEALS 9, TURNOVERS 20

Up Next

The Thunder will play at home on Wedsnday night against the Chicago Bulls (2-9). Tip-off 7 pm CT

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