Last night, the Oklahoma City Thunder avenged the double-overtime loss on Friday and defeated the San Antonio Spurs, 122-112 the final score.
The first half looked like a movie we saw only a few nights ago. The Spurs were hitting every shot, while the Thunder weren’t able to stop them or to outscore them. However, this time around, Oklahoma City was able to adjust in the second half and led by Dennis Schröder’s ferocious performance, the Thunder were able to get an important win in the tough Western Conference.
The Thunder maintain the third spot in the Western Conference, 26-16 the record after forty-two games.
- Dennis Schröder, angry
After a bad first half, Dennis Schröder bounced back in the third quarter against the Spurs and sparked the Thunder into the run that will decide the game. Schröder scored nineteen points in the second half and added one rebound, six assists, and four steals. It was incredible to see Dennis’ change of mindset from the first to the second half. He played with some extra energy on both ends of the floor, and that effort paid off. After a few below-average games, it was good to see Dennis perform at a high level. This is the type of Schröder the Thunder need to be successful.
- Balanced and fast offense
Seven Thunder’s players finished in double-digit points, with Terrence Ferguson stopping at eight points. Against the Spurs the offense has been balanced through the players, everyone was involved, and everyone was important. This is one of the keys for a team’s success. Also, the Thunder turned the speed on in the second half. The pace was incredible, the Thunder pressed on defense and run on offense everytime they had the possibility. Oklahoma City outscored San Antonio 27-7 in fastbreak points.
- Abdel Nader, fearless
Nader is without a doubt one of the best surprises of the season so far for Oklahoma City. Last night has been probably his best game in a Thunder jersey. Abdel finished the game with fifteen points (6-6 FG, 1-1 3PT, 2-2 FT), two rebounds, two assists, and one block. He can create his shot at will, he is not afraid to attack the paint, can score with both ends, hit threes, and he is good from the free-throw line. In his last ten games, Nader is averaging 7.4 points (54.5% FG, 50% 3PT, 100% FT) and 2.1 rebounds in 15.2 minutes of playing time. That’s pretty solid.
- Defensive effort
After giving up sixty points in the first half, where the Spurs still looked like a scoring machine, the Thunder played an outstanding second half. Oklahoma City doubled Aldrige on every possession when he touched the ball. With the ball out of LaMarcus’ hands, the options for the Spurs were slimmer, and if Belinelli didn’t catch fire once again, then probably the game would have been over well before the end of the third quarter. The Thunder allowed only twenty points in the third quarter and twenty-four in the last quarter before the bench mob came in the last two minutes.
- Three-pointers & Free Throws
These are the areas were usually Oklahoma City loses games. The Thunder rank last in three-point percentage and 27th in free-throw percentage. However, yesterday, the team was able to be excellent in both aspects: 47.8% from behind the arc (11-23) and 86.2% from the free-throw line (25-29). Obviously, the three-point percentage can’t be always that good, but the Thunder really need to improve at the free-throw line in this second part of the season.
On Tuesday night the Oklahoma City Thunder will play in Atlanta against the Hawks. Tip-off 6.30 pm CT.