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Strong Defensive Performance Lead The Thunder Past The Pacers

After the disappointing loss on their home court on Monday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder bounced back and won an important game in Indianapolis against the red-hot Indiana Pacers.

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It has been a team victory, actually, and maybe most importantly, it has been a “low key players” victory. Yes, it might sound odd, but the so-called “big three” had another forgettable shooting night (10-45 combined). Steven Adams, Alex Abrines, and the bench unit delivered a strong performance that helped Oklahoma City to compete offensively.

On the other end of the floor, it was a full team effort which made it possible to hold the Pacers to only 95 points. In fact, entering this game, Indiana was averaging 109 points per game, one of the best offensive teams in the league.

Not only the Thunder held the Pacers fourteen points below their average, but they were able to contain Victor Oladipo. The former Thunder’s Player finished the game with 19 points on a 9-26 shooting night.


Five Thoughts

Steven Adams was stellar last night. People are still overlooking him because there are more “famous” players on this team, but Adams already proved to be an elite center in this league. His offense has constantly improved this season and his defense has been effective. Yesterday he was the main reason the Thunder won the game. Adams finished with another double-double: 23 points and 13 rebounds (9 on the offensive glass).

Russell Westbrook finished the game with another triple-double: 10 points, 17 rebounds, 12 assists. The former MVP can’t find a way to be consistent with his shooting, but at least last night he was able to help in other ways. His defense was ok, he shared the ball, and he was really aggressive on both glasses. Once he is able to score as he used to do, this team will turn the corner.

The bench players played an excellent game. They gave the necessary spark in the second quarter to keep this team alive after non-convincing first 12 minutes. The full bench combined 29 points on 10-19 shooting. They provided a good ball movement on the offense and a solid defense.

This has been the first time Paul George was back in Indiana to play against his former team. He expected boos and boos were delivered. George didn’t shoot the ball well (3-14 FG), he scored only 12 points, but his defense was impressive. He stole the ball on what could have been a tie-game possession for the Pacers with only 11 seconds left, he got fouled and then he sunk both free throws to close the game. Within the two games against the Pacers, Paul George didn’t play well but the Thunder were able to win both matchups.

The Thunder might be the weirdest team in the league right now. They are capable to beat any team and at the same time to lose against anyone. Sometimes, it happens in the same game to see some moments of brilliant basketball and other moments of unexcusable awful sloppiness. If Oklahoma City gets it together, they can be big trouble when post-season comes.


Stats

OKLAHOMA CITY

  • FG% 40 3P% 44, FT% 62, ASSISTS 26, REBOUNDS 52, STEALS 10, TURNOVERS 13

INDIANA

  • FG% 44, 3P% 35, FT% 66, ASSISTS 18, REBOUNDS 42, STEALS 11, TURNOVERS 13

Up Next:

On Friday night, the Thunder will face for the first time this season the Philadelphia 76ers. Tip-off 6 p.m. CT

Cover Photo by Andy Lyons/NBAE via Getty Images

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