The Thunder had a solid overtime win against a Nets team that is looking more towards the future than the here and now. However they still competed and made OKC guard Chris Paul reach into his bag of tricks and get things done. It was a fun game to watch and the facts of the night echoed in my mind for 53 minutes. Here’s your Five Facts:
- A secondary rim protector is needed.
Points in the paint is often the name of the game for the Thunder every time they play. The shooters on opposing teams are not always a problem but not having a secondary rim protector is. If Adams is out, teams are not afraid to drive. Sometimes, even if Adams is in the game, teams will attack the paint viciously. This is why the move HAS to be made for another big man.
- Chris Paul is still elite.
I don’t care about the contract anymore. The fact of the matter is that I have not seen this kind of fire in CP3 since New Orleans. He knows the exact time he needs to take over a game. That’s what OKC has been missing since 2016. I’m going to sum this up as easy as I possibly can: If the 4th quarter and OT doesn’t make Thunder fans appreciate Chris Paul, y’all don’t deserve my point guard.
- There’s no confidence in offensive post presence.
For the umpteenth time, Steven Adams has been given less than 10 shots (but he grabbed 18 boards so that was nice). That has to change when it comes to postseason play. And Mike Muscala is not exactly the most threatening post presence on earth, which doesn’t help for the confidence vote. Changes have to be made or OKC will get obliterated in the paint come April.
- No Gallo can be one of the worst thing to happen to OKC.
Danilo Gallinari is one of the top 3 scorers in OKC. Not having him last night hurt in terms of that 30% 3-point percentage the ball club posted without him on the floor. This goes to show that Presti has magic to work to keep Gallo here or find another consistent shooter. However, this one works so well in the system that he needs to stay.
- Everyone knows their role and is playing it to perfection.
I feel like I have made this point before, yet I find myself on my soapbox once again. When reading the content on Thunder Twitter, one thing always comes to mind and that is how many people understand the game and how many people just kinda talk because they can. I don’t quite think everyone understands how players literally play roles in the game plan. For example, Chris Paul doesn’t need to drop 28 points a night to be effective. He controls pace and uses his IQ to elevate the game of everyone around him. Don’t believe me? Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has grown up right before our eyes and it’s primarily thanks to him learning from one of the greatest guards of this generation. Not to mention that for a 14 year NBA veteran, he can still defend with ease and that is impactful.
Another example is Terrance Ferguson. T-Ferg is can go 0/7 yet because of his defensive efforts the man can finish not only impactful but can play game changing defense. Understand the game and how it works and know that these guys are on a 42 win pace. We got spoiled in OKC with Russ and his daily heroics. But if you know the game, you know that’s not how a franchise can get far. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.
Tomorrow night is what we have all been anticipating and somewhat dreading. For the first time in his career, Russell Westbrook will wear another jersey inside the Peake. This will feel surreal for us all but we need to make sure every seat is filled. I have a feeling this will be an emotional and unforgettable night. For years, Russ was the main reason I went to games. Tomorrow I’ll see something I thought would only happen in some alternate reality. Elizabeth, bring tissues…I’m gonna need them.