After a less than exciting 3rd quarter where the Oklahoma City Thunder (23-20) scored only 18 points, the Thunder had to get something going on the offensive side. They were able to hold the Hornets to 17 in the third but just could not make shots to gain ground.
Enter fourth quarter Raymond Felton. Felton sparked the Thunders second unit and after nearly 4 minutes of no scoring from both sides. Felton finished 43% from the field with 8 pts, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Not only did he keep the Thunder in the game while the big three sat, he was able to extend the lead to 9 points midway through the fourth. The vet sparked lockdown defense and distributed the ball perfectly. This allowed Westbrook and the gang to enter late in the fourth and extend their lead and close out a well needed away victory.
“The second unit did a great job,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “Ray generated shots for Josh, Patrick, Jerami.”
OKC entered today’s game on a three-game skid. One of the main struggles for the thunder has been their inability to get defensive stops, especially with the second unit. This game seems to be a good sign moving forward regarding the second unit.
With Felton beginning to be more comfortable as a bench role player, it is clear he’s going to be an important piece to this teams success.
Keys to the game:
Jeremy Lamb- Lamb finished with 6 total points and was 3-8 from the field, so the Thunder defense appeared to be pretty effective against him. I give the Thunder defense a B+ for the night.
Thunder Bench- This was a really good night for the second unit, especially in the fourth quarter when it mattered. Felton was able to establish dominance with ball movement, smart shot taking and a pretty complete effort on the defensive side, especially down the stretch. Thunder bench gets an A for the night.
The Big Three- PG and Russ were pretty solid the whole game. Westbrook keep the effort going the whole time en route to a 25/10/7 game and George provided 17 points and 8 rebounds. Carmelo started to hit some shots in the second half but was relatively quiet for this one with 7 points.
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