The final score doesn’t tell the whole story though.
The first quarter can be simply defined as a massacre. The Thunder completely dominated it on both ends of the floor. The offense was perfect: a lot of ball movement and a smart shot selection while the defense was suffocating (something I mentioned in the game’s preview of this game). Oklahoma City held Chicago to only 7 points in the first quarter which is the lowest ever scored by the Wind City’s franchise. The story didn’t change much in the second quarter. Indeed Chicago found a way to improve scoring, but Oklahoma City was just too much to handle for the desperate Bulls. However, in the second half, the Thunder dry out offensively. It wasn’t a ball movement issue or anything specific, the shots just didn’t fall. A lot of open good looks simply bounced out. The defense remained solid for the whole game and prevented Chicago’s comeback.
- If you would just look at the Thunder’s shooting stats, then you would guess that they lost this game. Well, the Bulls are so bad that Oklahoma City was able to win despite a dry offense in the second half, they scored only 34 points. With all their firepower this isn’t good. As I mentioned above they missed a lot of good looks, in rhythm, and after a good ball movement. It simply wasn’t the right night.
- After exploding offensively in the past two games, Paul George came back to earth with a below average performance. He finished with 13 points (4-15 FG, 2-8 3FG, 3-4FT), 5 rebounds, 1 block, and 5 turnovers. If you are wondering, this has nothing to do with Anthony coming back into the lineup. In fact, Melo took only 10 shots and finished with a double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds).
- Russell Westbrook went full attack mode in the second quarter. He scored 17 points without missing a shot. His final stat line was 21 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals, 4 turnovers, and another solid performance from the free throw line: 7-7. After a sloppy start into the season from the FT line, his overall percentage is now up to 68.
- It comes as a surprise, to be honest, that Jerami Grant has been the best player coming off the bench so far this season. He recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Grant was under control on offense, he moved the ball when he was double-teamed, and he did a great job on the defensive end. His versatility and grow will be useful against tougher opponents.
- After three wins in a row, the Thunder’s record is back to 0.500 but this upcoming week will be an interesting test. Oklahoma City will face the Spurs on Friday, the Pelicans on Monday (both games on the road) before coming home to play against the champions, the Golden State Warriors. The Thunder don’t have an identity yet but these three upcoming games will tell us more about the team’s direction.
- FG% 36.0 3P% 26.0, FT% 86.0%, ASSISTS 15, REBOUNDS 48, STEALS 7, TURNOVERS 13
- FG% 34.0, 3P% 37.0, FT% 80.0%, ASSISTS 16, REBOUNDS 38, STEALS 7, TURNOVERS 13
The Thunder will play tomorrow in San Antonio against the Spurs, tip-off 7 pm CT.
Photo by Layne Murdoch | NBAE via Getty Images