Alex Abrines had a career night from the 3-point line, shooting 7-of-11 for 21 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder popped the Atlanta Hawks 124-109 on Friday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Oklahoma City improves to 14-7 with the win tonight, tying Toronto with the best record in November, 11-3.
“The shots were just going in,” Abrines said. “I felt good the other night they just weren’t going in. Tonight thankfully they went in.”
Abrines nailed his three attempt from deep, really setting up the rhythm the Thunder needed all evening.
“That’s what he does well,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “I think it speaks to Alex’s character as a player that he can go 1-for-9 the other night and see him make big shots tonight.”
Russell Westbrook was a rebound shy of a triple double, with 23-10-9 on 8-15 shooting, as well as 2-4 from downtown.
Paul George encountered light foul trouble, having 4 fouls early in the 3rd, but played through it, ending the night with 20 points on 6-14 shooting.
Nerlens Noel played fantastic, with 14 points on 6-7 shooting, with 3 steals and 2 blocks.
In the first quarter, the Thunder looked very sloppy on both ends of the floor, only leading the 5-17 Atlanta Hawks by 2 points by the end of the quarter.
That didn’t last long.
In the second quarter, Oklahoma City outscored Atlanta by 18 points, lead by a 13-0 run mid quarter which included two Russ 3s, as well as Patrick Patterson’s first made 3 pointer since November 17.
The third quarter was filled with some worry, as the Hawks got the Thunder lead to as little as 10, but OKC quickly stormed back with a 10-0 run to get it back to blowout territory.
The fourth quarter was standard, both teams scored the same amount of points, with most of Atlanta’s coming in the final 3 minutes.
Note that Hamidou Diallo was cleared by the Thunder to play tonight, but logged 0 minutes. Probably just precautionary. He’s missed the last three games with an ankle sprain.
The Thunder will start a 3 game road trip beginning Monday at 6:00 p.m. CST in Detroit. Their next home game is Dec. 10, versus the Utah Jazz.
Keys to the Game
Limit threes: A
Atlanta was 11-36 from 3 tonight, equaling just over 30%. That’ll do. As noted in the game preview, Thunder wins this season usually stem from elite defense at the 3pt line. The Hawks best player, Kent Bazemore was 3-10 from the field and 1-6 from 3 tonight. Shutting him off was big to assure an easy Oklahoma City victory.
Free throws: A+
Although the Thunder only shot 15 free throws tonight, they were near perfect at 14-15. Russell Westbrook was 5-6 from the line, which is a boost from his mediocre 60% average this season. Steven Adams took 0 free throws, something that would have probably been different had the Thunder been playing against a stronger opponent.
Block out: B-
While the Thunder did win the rebounding battle 46-42, the Hawks doubled up the Thunder on the offensive rebounding side, 14-7. That has to be flipped around, as versus better teams, they will take those free opportunities and most likely convert, leading to a rough time for Oklahoma City.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!