Paul George returned to his former home in Indiana for the first time and was booed for the entire game as he struggled, but he wasn’t alone as the Thunders big three struggled with their shot. Steven Adams and the bench were huge for the Thunder and were a huge reason the Thunder walked away with a 100-95 win over the Pacers. Westbrook got his ninth triple-double of the season finishing with 10 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists.
The Oklahoma Citys bench was immense against the Indiana Pacers. Scoring 29 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. The second unit was good on defense especially to start the second quarter as the Pacers couldn’t score on the first five offensive plays. The bench also gave Billy Donovan the ability to rest his big three early in the third quarter with none of them being on the floor the second unit was able to keep the score ticking over and in return keeping the Thunder in the game and the ability to eventually win the game. Patrick Patterson seems to be finding his groove and is giving the bench some significant minutes in the past few games against the Pacers Patterson hit two big three pointers for the Thunder at crucial times.
These 3s out of Patrick Patterson are a HUGE element of the OKC offense that's been absent most of the season.
— Brett Dawson (@BDawsonWrites) December 14, 2017
The Indiana Pacers shot 5-of-11 from three-point range at 45.5 percent in the first quarter than the Thunder lock down on perimeter shots. In the second quarter, the Pacers shot 33.3 percent and 28.5 percent in the entire second half on 4-of-14 shots. The Pacers are the second-best team in the NBA in three-point percentage averaging 39.3 percent per game on 26.1 attempts making 10.3 per game.
The Thunder were able to shut down the Pacers three-point shots and importantly they stopped former Thunder guard Victor Oladipo from getting hot from three as he went 1-of-9 from three at 11.1 percent. Stopping Oladipo from getting hot from three was the key to success for the Thunders defense as he has been phenomenal this season for the Pacers averaging 24.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 42.6 percent from three-point range.
Steven Adams to the rescue
Steven Adams has been phenomenal. When the big three has struggled Adams has stepped up big time, and against the Indiana Pacers, he did it again. Adams recorded 23 points, 13 rebounds and one block Adams was 11-of-16 from the field at 68.7 percent. Westbrook, George and Anthony struggled from the field but the Westbrook and Adams connection was still lethal, and it got the Thunder out of trouble again.
A 🥝 night. 23p/13r. Ties his career high with 11 made FG. pic.twitter.com/zBEEnzzXry
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) December 14, 2017
Shooting woes continue
The big three of the Thunder have been shooting terribly and they continued again against the Indiana Pacers shooting a combined 10-of-45 from the field at 22.2 percent. Carmelo Anthony shot well from three-point range shooting 2-of-3 at 66.7 percent while Russell Westbrook and the returning Paul George shot 33.3 and 28.5 percent respectively. The big three have struggled to get their shot going in recent games, and if it wasn’t for Steven Adams the Thunder could have a worse record then they already do as they are sitting 13-14 for the season sitting eighth in the west.
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Billy Donovan also gave his theory as to why the shooting numbers are so inconsistent, and I thought it was really insightful and smart: pic.twitter.com/0eixshwGqZ
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) December 14, 2017