Showtime Thunder, Knicks go KO: Five Thoughts
Last night, the Oklahoma City Thunder stormed over the New York Knicks to win their ninth game in the past ten, 128-103 the final score.
From the tip-off, you could see the focus and the energy brought on the court by the Thunder. The Knicks didn’t stand a chance against so much power.
Oklahoma City played a perfect first quarter on both ends of the floor. The team lead by Paul George was able to gain an early fifteen points advantage to end the first quarter, 37-22. The music didn’t change much in the second quarter. The Thunder played with a free mind an surely enjoyed any moment on the floor.
In the second half, Thunder’s defense let go the pressure, and New York was able to score thirty-one points. However, it didn’t matter, Oklahoma City, with another offensive clinic, scored thirty-five in the third quarter.
The last twelve minutes were pure administration by Thunder’s second unit.
- Paul George
Paul George played probably his best game in a Thunder jersey. Last night he was a tornado on both ends of the floor, and he was able to score at a high efficiency rate. George finished the game with thirty-five points (13-22 FG, 5-11 3PT, 4-4 FT), seven rebounds, five assists, two steals, one block, zero turnovers. Not only George played a tremendous game, but he also had extremely fun in doing it. There is nothing better.
- Steven Adams
I still think that Steven Adams doesn’t get enough credit for the outstanding player he became. Against the Knicks, Adams showed a little bit of everything: scoring, rebounding, defense, and passing ability. Last night, he finished with nineteen points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals, and one block. This season Adams is averaging 15.2 points, 10.1 rebounds,1.8 assists, and 1.6 steals. These last two numbers are so far career-high.
- Dennis Schröder
Dennis Schröder is surely the best back up point guard in the NBA. It feels wrong to even call him a back up after how he played in these first thirteen games. Without Westbrook, Dennis is leading this team with confidence. He is showing what type of player he is and can be, on both ends of the floor. Last night, Dennis had another strong performance: fifteen points, twelve assists, four rebounds, and one steal. So far, it looks like another win for general manager Sam Presti who brought Schröder in for basically an unhappy Carmelo Anthony and a draft pick.
- Defense is the key
Last year, after Roberson’s injury, the Thunder fall of a cliff on the defensive side of the floor. They weren’t able to stop any team from scoring. This year? A completely different story. Every player who steps on the floor is always engaged on the defensive side of the floor, everyone is ready to help, to defend, to hustle, and the results are outstanding. The Thunder are second in defensive rating at 103.3, first in steals (11.4 per game) and in forced turnovers (18.7 per game). This will only get better when the team will add Roberson back in the lineup.
Against the Knicks, Oklahoma City had a lot of fun on the court, and this is obviously great. The Thunder are beating teams which they are supposed to beat (another big difference compared to last year), this is also great. However, in order to maintain this level of success on the court, they need to keep the same energy and focus every game, because the regular season is a marathon to build good habits in order to be ready to face the playoffs.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will play in Phoenix on Saturday night against the Suns. Tip-off 8 pm CT.