George & Adams lead the Thunder past the Suns: Five Thoughts

Last night, the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated, for the third consecutive time this season, the Phoenix Suns: 110-100 the final score.

Despite missing four players (Westbrook personal reasons, Ferguson personal reasons, Abrines illness, Roberson still out), the Thunder were able to handle once again the Suns.

The first half has been balanced. Thunder’s defense did a very good job in allowing only forty-two points, but on the other end, the offense didn’t really make an impact. Oklahoma City led 47-42 entering the long break.

As already happened many times this season, the Thunder took control of the game in the third quarter. Oklahoma City built a fourteen points lead into the last quarter, and despite a “shaking” few minutes in the fourth quarter when the Suns cut the lead to six points, the Thunder were able to cruise to their tenth win of the season.

Five Thoughts

Steven Adams is very good

This is absolutely no news, but once again Steven Adams played an outstanding game on both ends of the floor. Adams finished with twenty-six points, ten rebounds, and one steal. He shot 11-15 from the floor and 4-5 from the free-throw line. Deandre Ayton didn’t stand a chance against the big Kiwi. Also, Adams is averaging a double-double through the first fifteen games: 15.9 points, 10.1 rebounds plus 1.7 assists, 1.0 block, 1.6 steals. Impressive numbers for the twenty-five years old center.

Thunder Suns 2

Paul George

This has been the third consecutive game with more than thirty points for Paul George. Without Westbrook, Paul George took over the main scorer role, and he certainly isn’t disappointing. Last night he finished the game with thirty-two points, eleven rebounds, two assists, three steals, and three blocks. Like Adams, also George is showing how good of a player on both ends of the floor he is. It has been only fifteen games, but PG is making definitely a good case for defensive player of the year.

Guys stepping up

Without the last minute absences of Westbrook, Ferguson, and Abrines, Donovan had some decision to make. He decided to start Diallo and to insert TLC and Burton in the second unit rotation. The decision paid off because each one of these players was able to hold his ground and provided good minutes. Important to mention also a more under control Raymond Felton, which indeed helped the second unit.

Keys to the win

Last night, the Suns finished the game with the advantage in most of the team stats. They scored better from the floor (45% vs 44%), they scored better from behind the three points line (41% vs 29%), more assists (25 vs 17), more steals (14 vs 9), and forced more turnovers (18 vs 14). However, the Thunder completely dominated the boards with fifty-two total rebounds (fourteen on offense which generated fifteen second-chance points), against thirty-one. Also and finally, Oklahoma City was able to convert at a high percentage from the free-throw line: 84% (27-32) vs 66% (14-21).

Ten out of eleven

After a slow start, the Oklahoma City Thunder won ten of their last eleven games with the only loss coming in Dallas against the Mavericks. Without a doubt, the schedule has been friendly to the Thunder during this stretch, but Oklahoma City is winning games they are supposed to win. This is a big deal considering how much they struggled last year against average or below average teams and considering that they are winning games without Westbrook and Roberson. A few numbers related to the last eleven games:

  • 1st in defensive rating – 101.2
  • 6th in offensive rating – 112.1
  • 2nd in net rating – 11.0
  • 1st in steals – 12.4

Up Next:

The Oklahoma City Thunder will play on Monday night in Sacramento against the Kings. Tip-off 9.00 pm CT.

Photos by Barry Gossage 

Alberto Bodei

Twitter: @euro_thunder

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