Last night, the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Houston Rockets and earned their seventh consecutive win, 98-80 the final score.
The Thunder took control of the game from the tip-off. The only sign of life coming from the Houston Rockets has been during the first part of the second quarter when the team led James Harden was able to cut a ten points deficit and gain a one-point lead: 39-38. Right after that moment, Paul George entered the game again, and Oklahoma City ran away. The Thunder finished the second quarter on a 21-6 run and took a fourteen points lead at the half.
The Thunder managed without too many issues the remainder of the game. They kept playing incredible defense, forced the Rockets to take questionable shots, and played a “good-enough” offense in order to cruise to the end of the game.
This is a really important and impressive win for the Oklahoma City Thunder: it comes against a playoff team, without two starters (Westbrook and Roberson), and on the second night of a back to back.
- Defensive force
Once again the Thunder played an amazing defense, and once again they won a game. Last night, Oklahoma City recorded eleven steals, four blocks, and forced eighteen turnovers while scored nineteen points out of them. These are only box-score stats, but it’s incredible the work this team did on all the defensive aspects: man on man defense, pick and roll, weak side helps, everything. In the past seven games, the Thunder defensive rating is 99.2, first in the league and 11.7 points below the second place (Golden State Warriors). Oklahoma City is missing also its best defender Andre Roberson.
- Paul George
Paul George didn’t shoot the ball well yesterday, but his defense, on and off the ball, was outstanding. The Thunder’s All-Star finished the game with twenty points, eleven rebounds, six assists, six steals, and a game-high +/- plus 35. His major impact on offense came after he was back in the second quarter. At that moment the Rockets took a one-point lead, but George then went 5-5 for thirteen points to re-establish a double-digit lead for Oklahoma City at the long break.
- Steven Adams
In yesterday’s recap, I asked for more Steven Adams and against the Rockets I got more Steven Adams. Nobody on the Rockets has been able to stop Adams and the big Kiwi delivered a solid performance on offense and on defense. Steven finished the game with nineteen points (7-12 FG, 5-9 FT), ten rebounds (six on offense), four assists, and two steals. In the modern NBA, there are a lot of stretch fours and fives, Steven Adams sticks to the basics and it definitely works out pretty well.
- Terrence Ferguson
After a bad start of the season, game after game, Terrence Ferguson is continuing to improve. His minutes are going up, he looks more confident on the floor and less afraid to commit mistakes. Last night he finished with fourteen points (5-10 FG, 4-9 3PT), four rebounds, one steal, and one impressive block on Hartenstein. In the past seven games, Ferguson is shooting 51.7% from the floor and 40% from behind the arc.
- Team Performance
This has been an outstanding team-win. Everyone did his job, and even if obviously, some players’ performance stuck out more than others, the whole team deserves credit for a great win on the second night of a back to back.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will play on Saturday night in Dallas against the Mavericks. Tip-off 8.00 pm CT,
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