It hasn’t been a great game, the Thunder played poorly and if it wasn’t for Steven Adams, Raymond Felton, and a really tired Charlotte team (they were on the second night of back to back), then probably the outcome would have been different.
Oklahoma City started the game with the right approach: solid defense, good ball movement, and they were actually hitting shots. Unfortunately, it lasted only until the last minutes of the first quarter, when Charlotte cut the lead to 3 points. In the second quarter, the Hornets took advantage of the Thunder’s problems and took a four points lead into halftime. Oklahoma City gave up 59 points in the first 24 minutes.
The second half, at least defensively, has been a different story. The Thunder played really good defense and forced Charlotte into tough shots. However, on the other end of the floor, the problems remained: despite a huge amount of talent on the team, Oklahoma City wasn’t able to score with consistency. The Thunder scored only 18 points in the third quarter, but at least, they kept the Hornets to 17. Then, Ray Felton happened. In the fourth quarter, he led a full bench unit to a big run, which basically closed the game in Thunder’s favor. When the starters entered the game again, the contest was basically over.
Steven Adams is having a great season, but it feels like people are not talking too much about it. Last night, he had another outstanding performance on both ends of the floor. His final stats-line: 14 points (7-11 FG), 11 rebounds (7 on offense), 1 assist, 3 steals, 4 blocks. He battled the whole game with Dwight Howard, and it has been fun to watch.
Raymon Felton has been without a doubt the best player coming out of the bench for Oklahoma City this season. He is the perfect leader for the Thunder’s second unit. Yesterday has been another proof of how important is to have a solid veteran as your backup point guard. Felton finished the game with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists.
After a bad stretch, Alex Abrines finally had a nice game: he didn’t look lost on defense and took some good shots on offense. Abrines is an important part of this team, and they need him at his best. Hopefully, from here on, he will be able to contribute more.
The Big Three had a really bad shooting night. They finished with a combined 19 on 55 from the floor, 34%. Westbrook took half these shots, and for the first time in a few weeks, he wasn’t efficient. Carmelo Anthony keeps on struggling offensively, while Paul George has ups and downs since the start of the season. Yesterday, was not an exception for him.
In the second half, the Thunder showed a good effort defensively, maybe for the first time since Andre Roberson went down with his injury. Hopefully, Dre will be back soon, but it was encouraging to see the team fight on defense. Too bad they weren’t able to convert on the offense.
- FG% 40.0, 3P% 30.0, FT% 75.0, ASSISTS 17, REBOUNDS 57, STEALS 8, TURNOVERS 9
- FG% 39.0, 3P% 32.0, FT% 69.0, ASSISTS 16, REBOUNDS 50, STEALS 3, TURNOVERS 14
The Thunder will play on Monday night at home against the Sacramento Kings, tip-off 7 p.m. CT
Cover Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images