Andre Drummond dunked off an assist from Reggie Jackson to begin the game. That was the only lead the Pistons had all night. The Thunder embarrassed the Pistons in their own arena, 110-83.
The game was defined by the stifling defense that Oklahoma City played. The Detroit Pistons shot 33 percent from the field, and 18 percent from three. The Thunder defense forced 15 turnovers.
“Just our rotations, thought we rotated really well,” Steven Adams said.
Oklahoma City is 15-7 on the year and are 15-3 since starting 0-4, the best record since then in the NBA.
“We weathered some turnovers in the first half, up by 10, then in the 3rd quarter we really established ourselves,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “It was a complete game by our guys on both ends of the floor.”
Terrance Ferguson returned from injury, and played 26 minutes. He only attempted one shot, a 3 pointer, and missed, but his main impact is never scoring. Terrance had 4 assists, a steal, and a great block on Andre Drummond. The steps that he has taken forward this season on the defensive end are massive to the Thunder.
“When you’re out like that, sometimes it can take you a while to get going, but it was great to see him come back in his first game and respond the way he did.”
Great block by TFerg. pic.twitter.com/dpgtd5hA84
— Oklahoma City Thunder Digest © (@ThunderDigest) December 4, 2018
Hamidou Diallo was cleared to play, but was still feeling some discomfort, so the Thunder ultimately held him out.
Steven Adams lead the Thunder in scoring tonight with 21 points on 7-8 shooting. while being 7-7 from the free throw line.
Russell Westbrook had a slow start to the game, being 0-of-4 and scoring his first points off of a layup. He had five turnovers in the game, and shot 2-of-7 from the three-point line. Still, he had 18 points on 7-of-17 shooting, with six assists and six rebounds.
Jerami Grant’s improvement as a player is a wonderful sight to see. Grant had 15 points on 5-6 shooting, which included 2 3s. Grant isn’t afraid to drive to the basket or shoot, and confidence is a major part of success in basketball. He’s long, athletic, and can defend at a high level.
The third quarter was the turning point in the game, as it was only a 10-point Oklahoma City lead heading into halftime. The Thunder outscored Detroit 37-19 while holding them to 35 percent shooting on only 20 shots. The Thunder shot 50 percent on 13-26 shooting. OKC turned the ball over zero times, and forced four turnovers on the defensive end. A great win to begin a three-game road trip.
The Thunder head to Brooklyn to take on the Nets for a Wednesday night showdown. Oklahoma City and Brooklyn is set to tip-off at 6:30 p.m. Thunder time.
Keys to the Game
Fast Break points: C
The Thunder forced 15 turnovers on the night and had 10 steals. The bad part, is that the Pistons also forced 17 turnovers and had 10 steals. Oklahoma City outscored the Pistons 10-9 in fast break points. The transition defense was stellar by both squads tonight, but OKC needs to keep turnovers down in future games. There were definitely some turnovers by Russell Westbrook and co. that could have been prevented by smarter play.
Free throws: A
Oklahoma City shot 85 percent from the line tonight, which is where you want to be. In addition, the dynamic duo of Steven Adams and Russell Westbrook, combined for 9-of-10 shooting from the line, which is a lot better than their season average. 20 free throws is four less than OKC’s season average, but if they can continue making free throws at at-least an 80 percent clip, they will be in great shape.
Nerlens Noel and Dennis Schroder have been a bright spot for the Oklahoma City Thunder this season, and continued that tonight. Dennis had 12 points nine rebounds and six assists on 6-of-13 shooting, while Nerlens had 12 points and eight rebounds on 6-of-9 shooting, including two blocks and two steals. Patrick Patterson had a rough game with minimal production, as well did Alex Abrines. Schroder and Noel carried the bench tonight, but in closer games, Abrines and Patterson are going to need to find looks from the 3-point line and knock them down.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!