Tag - Alex Abrines

Thunder steal one against Kings 95-88

The energy and play in the first half was apathetic at best. The play and the score reflected as so. However, even after falling behind by nine in the second half, the Oklahoma City Thunder fought back for a nice 95-88 win over the lowly Sacramento Kings on a frigid Monday night.

The Thunder improved to 24-20 on the season and have won back-to-back games, securing a strong hold on fifth place in the Western Conference.

The Thunder rallied from a 15-point first half deficit on the backs of the big three in their own ways. Despite Westbrook’s plethora of first half turnovers, if it wasn’t for him, the first half deficit of only six could’ve been 14. In the second half it was Carmelo Anthony and Paul George who finished with 20 and 18 points, respectively, fueling the Thunder’s comeback.

The Thunder trailed the Kings (13-30) at the break 54-48.

Oklahoma City’s defense held the Kings to 30.9 percent in the second half from the floor. It’s in stark contrast as 48 percent allowed in the first half.

Sacramento took a 58-49 lead with less than 40 seconds into the second half. It appeared it was going to be a replay of the first half. A Westbrook driving lay up, followed by three-pointers by Anthony and George tied the game up at 61-all with 7:15 left in the quarter.

Anthony hit a three to give Oklahoma City a 64-61 lead and their first lead in what felt like forever. Steven Adams cutting to the rim to give the Thunder a 68-66 lead with 4:18 remaining. Oklahoma City would never trail again.

A 41-16 run for the Thunder capped off the comeback in the face of the adversity they’ve struggled against all season.

With 2:51 left in the game, Westbrook was popped with two quick technical fouls, ejecting him from the contest. Westbrook was complaining about being hit in the face on a play where he was called for traveling. Official matt Boland T’d him quickly as the Thunder led 91-77.

Shortly after the Westbrook ejection, the NBA’s youngest official, Gediminas Petraitis, popped Billy Donovan with a technical foul. After the dust settled, the Thunder only led 91-83 with 2:51. The Thunder’s defense held the Kings to only one made bucket the final three minutes of the game.

After both the Thunder and Kings couldn’t score in the first 3:16 of the fourth, the Thunder responded to a Willie Cauley-Stein bucket with back-to-back Patrick Patterson three-pointers. Alex Abrines capped off the run with an 86-70 lead with 7:11 left in the game.

Oklahoma City will host the Los Angeles Lakers (15-28) on Wednesday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN, so those outside of the Thunder TV market will get to watch this one. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Keys to the Game

Defend the three: A

Oklahoma City held the Kings to 7-of-29 from the arc, including 3-of-14 in the second half. The Thunder’s ability to defend the perimeter really paid off. It’s a large part in why the Thunder were able to win this one.

Bench: B

Oklahoma City’s bench scored 23 points, including 10 from from Patterson, a season high. The key plays at the beginning of the fourth were instrumental in how Oklahoma City was able to extend the their lead at a crucial juncture in the contest.

Big Three: C

While the Big three combined for 57 of the 95 points, their first half performance earns them a C overall. It was a bad F in the first half. However, Anthony’s ability to contribute and Westbrook persistence really helped this team. They all can play better and must play better.

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Thunder Game Day No. 40: at Phoenix Suns

Oklahoma City Thunder (22-17, 8-11 away) vs. Phoenix Suns (15-26, 7-14 home)

Sunday, Jan. 6 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Talking Stick Resort Arena (18,422)
Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27) | 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 8½-point favorite. The over/under is 219½.
Online Stream: Fox Sports Go | WWLS Sports AnimalLive Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Suns: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder take their West Coast momentum to the desert to take on the Phoenix Suns.
  • Oklahoma City is 8-2 in their last 10 games and have won three straight road games.
  • The Fighting Bookers are giving up a league worst 112.4 points per game but are only 5-5 in their last 10 games.
  • The Thunder and the Suns split their series last year, both winning on their home courts. Oklahoma City hasn’t won in Phoenix since Feb. 8, 2016.
  • Russell Westbrook in four games last year against the Suns averaged 37.0 points, 13.3 rebounds and 12.3 assists per game, including two triple-doubles.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Brian Davis and Michael Cage call the game on the Thunder’s flagship station, Fox Sports Oklahoma. You can watch the game there, catch it on NBA League Pass, or use the Fox Sports App (If you’re in Oklahoma).

SCOUTING THE SUNS

  • The Phoenix Suns are 15-26 on the season, 11th in the Western Conference.
  • In their last 10 games, the Suns are 5-5.
  • Right now, the Suns have lost two in a row and three of their last four games.
  • Oklahoma City and Phoenix split the season series last year 2-2, both teams winning all games on their home floors.
  • Overall, the Thunder are 106-126 against the Phoenix Suns.
  • When speaking of only in Oklahoma City terms, the Thunder are 21-11.
  • When the games are played in Phoenix, the Thunder are only 8-7 against the Suns.
  • Injury Report:
    Alan Williams (knee) is out.
    Brandon Knight (knee) is a game-time decision.
    T.J. Warren (illness) is a game-time decision.
    Isaiah Canaan (groin) is a game-time decision.
    Jared Dudley (illness) is a game-time decision.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Phoenix came on Feb. 8, 2013, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 127-96 (31-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (22 points) vs. Phoenix occurred during a 118-140 loss on Feb. 20, 2009.

WHAT’S IN THE SUNS NAME?

  • General manager Jerry Colangelo, only 28 at the time, settled on a name for his expansion franchise using a name-the-team contest in 1968.
  • Colangelo chose Suns over Scorpions, Rattlers, and Thunderbirds, among the other suggestions included in the 28,000 entries.
  • One lucky fan won $1,000 and season tickets as part of the contest, which included such obscure entries as White Wing Doves, Sun Lovers, Poobahs, Dudes, and Cactus Giants.

NEW FACES

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder added a bunch of new faces this year.
  • Paul George was acquired on June 30 for Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo.
  • Carmelo Anthony joins the Thunder after Oklahoma City sent Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a second round pick to the Knickerbockers for Anthony.
  • Oklahoma City also signed Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson via free agency.
  • Terrance Ferguson was drafted in the first round out of Australia.
  • Oklahoma City also added PJ Dozier, undrafted rookie out of South Carolina to a two-way deal.

INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson is OUT (left patellar tendonitis).
  • Alex Abrines (groin) is a game-time decision.

NEXT UP

  • The Thunder have a home-road back-to-back next week against the Trail Blazers and Timberwolves on Tuesday, Jan. 9 and Wednesday, Jan. 10.



Three Keys to the Game

Third quarter

Win the third quarter. When the Thunder win the third quarter, they’re 12-0. When they lose, they’re 10-17 on the year. So, win the third quarter and you win the game. It’s pretty simple as that. Especially as the quarter has been the thorn in the side of Oklahoma City all season long.

Three point shooting

The Suns, for all of their failures this season, when they make some threes, they can be tough to beat. They’re 9-6 when the Suns make more threes than their opponent. The Thunder are 8-6 when they out-shoot an opponent. It’s from three. The Thunder will have to keep the Suns at bay.

Rebound

The Oklahoma City Thunder have rebounded well lately but they’ll have to do it again tonight. Oklahoma City is 16-6 when they can grab more boards than their opponent.

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Peake & Roll Podcast S2 E15: The NSFW Episode…NBA Screws OKC Again

Earmuffs kids! In the wake of the controversial loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Chuck and Brady talk about the Thunder of both past and present. What exactly is going on with Alex Abrines? NBA tanking, Chuck not knowing who Heisenberg is and Brady finding out his one true love is married. Much more!

0:29 — 3:23: Soft intro –
3:24 — Voicemails — You can call (405) 928-0823 to leave your voicemail
9:20 — Chuck is unaware we are recording
12:38 — Second Intro
13:19 — Shout out to (405)990 caller
14:29 — Milwaukee controversy
20:55 — ¿Lo que está mal con Alex Abrines?
26:04 — A trip down Thunder Memory Lane; Golden State on New Year’s Eve 2008 and Milwaukee opener on Oct. 29, 2008
37:36 — Brady finds out a terrible truth…
41:35 — Back on track! Milwaukee loss
49:46 — Chuck doesn’t know who Heisenberg is.
51:33 — OKC should beat Dallas with or without PG13/Andre Roberson & NBA tanking
60:54 — Chuck’s Thunder New Years Resolution
63:59 — Chuck’s new article

Our podcast is on SoundCloud or on iTunes. Give us a listen. We try to do one or two a week.

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Paul George and Andre Roberson listed out against Dallas

The news gets worse for the Thunder, who are coming off a bad call loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have listed both Paul George (left knee soreness) and Andre Roberson (left patellar tendinitis) as out for the tomorrow night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks (12-25) in their Game Notes.

You can view the Game Notes here.

George missed last night’s game and Roberson left with 18 seconds remaining and did not return. Donovan said in post game it would have been Roberson on Giannis Antetokounmpo, not Josh Huestis, if he was healthy.

Fred Katz at the Norman Transcript was first to report this.

Now this could be only scheming. You list the two players out more than 24 hours before the game. Then, tomorrow you list them as doubtful and by game-time they’re ready to go. Oklahoma City likes to be secretive and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a thing. They’ll wait as long as possible to name a starting replacement due to this as well.

Oklahoma City is now 1-2 without either George or Roberson in the lineup. George previous missed games against Brooklyn and Memphis. Roberson missed Charlotte and Indiana.

It’s unknown who will replace the two in the starting line up if they’re unable to go. The probable starters on the Game Notes lists the same ones from last night. However, Josh Huestis stepped in and played big minutes last night. He was a plus-21 while Alex Abrines was negative-24. Usually single game plus/minus can be ignored, but not that big.

You will probably see a combination of Huestis and Abrines in the place. Maybe they’ll surprise everyone and start Daniel Hamilton, which is something I’d like to see.

The Thunder host the Mavericks in a New Year’s Even showdown at 6 p.m. on FS Oklahoma. The Mavericks have won three straight and the Thunder are 7-3 in their last 10 games, including 12 of their last 16 games. The two teams split their previous two meetings this season, both winning at home.

Roberson is averaging 5.0 points on 52.4 percent shooting this season. His defensive rating of 96.5 is No. 1 in the NBA and will surely be missed.

George in 33 games this season is averaging 20.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and an NBA best 2.5 steals per game.

The Thunder cancelled practice due to the icy road conditions in Oklahoma City today. So, there was no media availability to ask about the status of either player.

 

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Thunder Game Day No. 34: vs. Houston Rockets

Oklahoma City Thunder (18-15, 12-4 home) vs. Houston Rockets (25-6, 12-1 away)

Monday, Dec. 25 :: 7 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)
Coverage: ABC (5 DirecTV, 8 Cox, 705 HD, 5 AT&T U-Verse, 5 Dish)
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 1½-point favorite. The over/under is 217.
Online Stream: Watch ESPNWWLS Sports AnimalLive Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Jazz: here

 

SETTING THE SCENE

  • Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from everyone here at Thunder Digest! The Oklahoma City Thunder are going to welcome in the Houston Rockets for a 7 p.m. showdown against the fighting Beards of Houston.
  • Houston comes into the game 25-6, second best record in basketball but they’re banged up. Oklahoma City is one of the hottest teams in the NBA and they’re relatively healthy.
  • Last season, the Thunder lost to the Rockets in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Houston beat the Thunder 4-1 and averaged 113 points per game in the series.
  • Oklahoma City has won four in a row and 10 of their last 13 games.
  • Houston has lost back-to-back games for the second time this season and look to avoid a three-game losing streak for the first time since March 28-31.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Today’s game is available only on ABC. Your ABC broadcast team is Hube Brown, Mark Jones and Cassidy Hubbarth. You’ll be able to watch the game streaming live on Watch ESPN.

SCOUTING THE ROCKETS

  • The Houston Rockets are 25-6 in the regular season, second in the Western Conference.
  • In their last 10 games, the Rockets are 8-2.
  • Houston has lost back-to-back games for the second time this season.
  • All-time against the Rockets, Oklahoma City is 107-106.
  • Since being relocated from Seattle to Oklahoma City, the Thunder are 14-19 against Houston, one of their worst marks against any team.
  • The Thunder are 10-8 when playing at home in Chesapeake Energy Arena.
  • Last season, the Rockets won the regular season series 3-1.
  • Oklahoma City is 3-7 in their last 10 regular season games against Houston.
  • In their last game, Houston lost to the Clippers 128-118. James Harden still had 50 in the loss.
  • Injury Report:
    Chris Paul (leg) is doubtful.
    Clint Capela (heel) is questionable.
    Luc Mbah a Moute (shoulder) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Houston came on Dec. 29, 2013, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 117-86 (31-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (12 points) vs. Houston occurred during a 77-89 loss on 11/1/08.

ROCKET NAME

  • The Houston Rockets originally called San Diego home.
  • Rockets was chosen via a name-the-team contest and was a reference to the city’s theme, “A City In Motion.”
  • Liquid-fueled Atlas rockets were also being manufactured in San Diego.
  • When the team moved to Houston in 1971, it made perfectly good sense to keep the name, as Houston was home to a NASA space center.

NEW FACES

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder added a bunch of new faces this year.
  • Paul George was acquired on June 30 for Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo.
  • Carmelo Anthony joins the Thunder after Oklahoma City sent Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a second round pick to the Knickerbockers for Anthony.
  • Oklahoma City also signed Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson via free agency.
  • Terrance Ferguson was drafted in the first round out of Australia.
  • Oklahoma City also added PJ Dozier, undrafted rookie out of South Carolina to a two-way deal.

INJURY REPORT

  • Oklahoma City is relatively healthy.

NEXT UP

  • Oklahoma City is in the middle of a four-game home stand, their largest of the season. It started with the Houston Rockets on Christmas and ends with the Dallas Mavericks on New Year’s Eve.
  • The Thunder then go on a West Coast swing playing the Clippers, Lakers and the Suns in 2018.



Three Keys to the Game

Bench needs to step up

Oklahoma City’s bench has been outscored 22 of the 33 games this season. However, they’ll need to do some work this evening. Houston’s all six games have one thing in common: Their bench was out scored. Oklahoma City’s bench core, Alex Abrines, Patrick Patterson, Jerami Grant, Raymond Felton and Josh Huestis, all have to step up today.

Force turnovers

Oklahoma City leads the NBA in forcing turnovers with 17.6 turnovers forced per game. Oklahoma City has to do this again tonight. Houston doesn’t turn it over a lot, middle of the road for the association. If Oklahoma City can force a lot of turnovers, and create easy points in transition, this will benefit Oklahoma City.

Shoot well

I know this is stupid. However, you have to make shots to win. Oklahoma City is 15-1 when they shoot better than the opponent. So, it’s relative to say you make buckets more efficiently than your opponents, you win. Oklahoma City is only 3-14 when they’re outshot. So, be efficient in today’s win.

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OKC’s quest for improvement is both simple and difficult

Inconsistency has become the theme of the 2017-18 Oklahoma City Thunder.

By now the factors are well known. Paul George. Carmelo Anthony. New faces with different roles. The pieces that should flourish are flawed. The weaknesses that have surfaced have yet to be corrected to a satisfactory level.

Of course, we are only 30 percent into the season. There is ample time for a team led by the reigning MVP in Russell Westbrook to change this theme. The lowest expectation of optimism can be described as thus; at some point this team will realize it’s incredibly talented and start winning games.

While the Thunder have been inconsistent, strangely enough there are consistencies discovered when watching this team. The obvious strength lies with the defense. Oklahoma City has leaned on their length, athleticism and ability to out-physical most teams in order to win or stay in the majority of their games. Putting the defensive numbers in perspective paints a less optimistic picture.

While Oklahoma City’s defensive numbers for this particular season are impressive and elite, they are not special when looking at recent history, and even if they were, you are not winning a championship as a one-sided team in today’s NBA.

Currently, the Thunder rank second in defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) at 101.3 behind the Boston Celtics at 101. Over the last 10 seasons, the Celtics’ current rating would rank dead-last of the previous teams who led the NBA in defensive rating in their respective seasons. Also in the previous 10 seasons, only two teams — the 2007-08 Celtics and the 2014-15 Warriors — both led the league in defensive rating and also won an NBA championship in the same season.

This is going to make a strong playoff run, let alone a shot at a NBA Finals, difficult.

The Warriors are great due to their flexibility, versatility and balance on both sides of the floor. Previous champions have had similar adjectives attached to their résumés. What the Thunder have is a great foundation. Something to depend upon while they tinker with the on-the-court chemistry and offense as a whole. However, if they want to hover around .500, then they can be dependent that their defense will keep them in almost every game. That is not the goal.

So what needs to change?

That’s simple: The offense needs to not only improve but become substantially better. What can they possibly do?

The options have been floating around ever since Anthony chuckled at The Oklahoman’s Erik Horne and replied, “Who, me?” at a question insinuating that the former New York Knick might come off the bench at Thunder Media Day. Would Anthony as a sixth-man actually improve Oklahoma City. The numbers make a case, albeit not exactly a home run case.

Billy Donovan has played lineups consisting of Westbrook and George without Anthony a total of 857:32 minutes this season. The Thunder are plus-5.1 points better when this happens. This fuels the thought that Oklahoma City and general manager Sam Presti were better served with only taking George in the offseason and forsaking a shot at Anthony.

Especially when you compare lineups of Westbrook and Anthony (only plus-1.4 better) and Anthony and George (pus-3.5). The Thunder are better without Anthony on the floor according to some numbers.

That thought process is flawed. Are the Thunder better with only Westbrook and George on the floor? Yes, but not by a wide enough margin to make serious improvements.

Anthony coming off the bench would not be the cure all Oklahoma City fans are looking for. You would then be asking Alex Abrines to improve his defense on the fly or take away Jerami Grant’s spark plug factor away from the reserve role that has become a positive for this team.

Trading away Anthony — when it is undetermined if you could get some quality assets in return to help this season — is not the answer either. If the Thunder are going to prevail from their dynamite summer, they have to work to win for this season first.

The true answer has always been the same. Get better. Both simple and difficult.

Little things like moving off the ball — something Westbrook and Anthony struggle with — to force the defense into mismatches. Feeding the hot hand — Anthony was on fire in Philadelphia before the Thunder let an 11-point lead with five minutes to go turn into a triple-overtime thriller; Anthony only took four more shots the rest of the game.

The difficult task is going to be the big three actually making it all happen.

If Oklahoma City is going to realize it’s potential, Anthony must remain in the starting lineup. A bench unit with Anthony leading the way would not fix the problem but continue its symptoms.

One time for those not paying attention. Oklahoma City has time to right the ship. They are winners of seven of their last ten outings and appear to be close to breaking through the .500 hurdle. They sit at the seventh seed in the West and are only two games back in the loss column to the Minnesota Timberwolves and the fourth seed.

This team has the talent to go on a tear. 7-3 in your last 10 games is difficult to navigate in the NBA. All it will take is another great 10 game stretch and there will be a different attitude surrounding this team.

It is all up to Westbrook, Anthony and George.

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Westbrook puts Thunder on his back once again to edge Nuggets

For those asking for the Russell Westbrook of last year to return you got your wish last night in the fourth quarter in the Oklahoma City Thunders comeback win over the Denver Nuggets 95-94 at the Chesapeake Arena in Oklahoma City.

The Thunder had let another double-digit lead slip away and had found themselves in a 10 point hole in the fourth quarter until Westbrook took over scoring 16 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter including the go-ahead free throw in the dying seconds of the game. Westbrook finished the game with 38 points, nine rebounds and six assists along with three steals and a block. Westbrook was lethal in the fourth quarter shooting 7-of-12 at 58.2 percent from the field.

Westbrook’s teammates were fine to let him carry them over the line.

“If anyone of us has the hot hand, they got to keep going,” Paul George said. “Russ definitely had the hot hand, and we were fine, we were fine with him taking the game over.”

While Westbrook was efficient his fellow All-Stars were not. George shot 3-of-13 at 23.1 percent and a poor 1-of-6 from three-point range at 16.7 percent while Carmelo Anthony played a decoy role according to Anthony himself as he shot 33.3 percent on 2-of-6 shooting and 0-of-3 from three-point range.

After the game, Anthony spoke on him spacing for Westbrook and how his opponents are playing him.

“A lot of times, my man is not leaving me,” Anthony said. “Opposing teams, coaches’ defensive schemes is telling them to always keep a body on me…As a result of that, me being a decoy opens it up for a lot of people.”

Dakari Johnson received the starting role after Steven Adams had to sit out his second game with a concussion. Johnson helped the Thunder get off to a great first quarter scoring six points on three shots while also affecting the defensive side of the ball creating a steal that later led to a basket for himself.

Alex Abrines was the biggest contributor off the bench giving the Thunder an important 11 points on a perfect shooting night for the Spaniard as he shot 3-of-3 from three and 3-of-3 from the field. Abrines was fantastic in the third quarter as the Nuggets got hot from the field shooting 59.9 percent on 12-of-20 shots and a red-hot 5-of-10 at 50 percent from three. While the Nuggets were getting hot the Thunder was cold shooting 7-of-21 from the field at 33.3 percent and 2-of-5 from three with two makes being from Abrines.

The Nuggets were up 76-70 heading into the final quarter after a 32-18 third quarter by the Nuggets the Thunder need someone to step up and win the game for them. Westbrook answered.

Westbrook came on at the 9: 41-minute mark of the fourth quarter and took the game over after the Nuggets had pushed the lead out to 83-73 with 9:25 left on the clock. Westbrook was controlled in his take over he wasn’t just shooting threes only taking three he was controlled and he was lethal in his takeover a controlled Westbrook can be the scariest, Westbrook fans and opposition think of Westbrook as out of control and ruthless but Thunder fans know what the controlled and methodical Westbrook is capable of doing as the Nuggets fund out.

With this win over the Nuggets, the Thunder gets back to .500 on the season sitting at 15-15 they look to the Utah Jazz who are 14-17 on the season and will be in Oklahoma on Wednesday to give the Thunder a chance to go above .500.

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Real Plus/Minus Thunder at 76ers

The Thunder escapes a three-overtime game in Philidelphia winning 119-117 after Russell Westbrook battled with himself only to come up big time in the three overtimes finishing with 27 points, 18 rebounds and 15 assists and his 10th triple-double. It was Carmelo Anthony who shot the ball well and got the Thunders offense rolling early in the game finishing with 24 points and seven rebounds shooting 11-of-17. The Thunder take this tough win and head to Anthony’s former team and his first game in Madison Square Garden since leaving the New York Knicks.

PLUS

Westbrook early ball movement

Russell Westbrook was like an Eagle in the first half finding his teammates everywhere with great passing and vision. Westbrook was bullet passing the ball to Carmelo Anthony at the top of the key also making the extra the pass after some great Thunder ball movement to find Raymond Felton for three in the corner wide open. If it wasn’t for some poor catching from Jerami Grant Westbrook could have had even more assists instead he finished with eight for the quarter and was a big reason for the Thunders early shooting success as team finished shooting 52.5 percent in the first quarter from the field and a massive 61.5 percent from three-point range on 8-of-13 shooting. Westbrook finished the game with 27 points, 18 rebounds and 15 assists.

Carmelo Shooting in the first half

Anthony has been struggling with his shot this season but against the Philidelphia 76ers he found his shot again in the first half Anthony was 7-of-10 from the field at 70 percent and 1-of-3 from three-point range at 33.3 percent. Anthony was the catalyst for the Thunders first-half lead of 55-47. Anthony was red hot from the mid-range which was thanks to great passing by Russell Westbrook in the first quarter. Anthony finished with 24 points on 11-of-17 shooting at 64.7 percent while also bringing down seven rebounds.

The second unit

The Thunders second unit was fantastic against the 76ers as a collective they finished with 35 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks. Josh Huestis, Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson were the standouts with Patterson coming on in the third overtime after Steven Adams was fouled out Patterson came up with some crucial defensive plays on 76ers big man Joel Embiid. The 76ers bench finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and four steals. The Thunders bench was fantastic and kept the Thunder in front when the starters went to the bench.

MINUS

Free throw shooting

This game went to three overtimes but it should have never left regulation time for many reasons but the main one is the Thunders free throw shooting. The Thunder shot 15-of-35 from the line at 42.9 percent. Alex Abrines and Carmelo Anthony were terrible at the line shooting 20 and 25 percent respectively but it was Russell Westbrook who missed free throws at crucial times in this game as he missed 2-of-5 for the game shooting at 40 percent from the line but he shot 1-of-4 at 25 percent in all of overtime and didn’t manage to get to the line in the fourth. The Thunder left a lot of points on the board in a game that ended up going to three overtimes.

Fourth quarter

The Thunder had a terrible fourth quarter scoring a total of 13 points in the fourth but it was the last five minutes that gave the 76ers the opportunity to get the score back to a tie and game and send it to overtime as the Thunder couldn’t manage a basket in the last five minutes of the game. The Thunder have struggled late in games but to not score in the last five minutes is not acceptable from a team with this much talent. Russell Westbrook shot 0-of-7 from the field in the fourth quarter while assisting only two times. Westbrook needs to keep moving the ball late in games and not just become a jump shooter.

The Thunder shot 5-of-23 from the field at 21.6 percent and didn’t get to the free throw line once which allowed the 76ers to come storming back as they shot 46.2 percent from the field and managed six trips to the line.

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Thunder Digits: Adams, OKC defense saves the day

After an embarrassing home loss to the Charlotte Hornets, the Oklahoma City Thunder responded with a gritty 100-95 road win over the Indiana Pacers. It was pretty ugly offensively, especially for the Big Three. It was the Thunder’s defense that kept them alive and a big game from Steven Adams that led the way to the win. Here are some key numbers from tonight’s win.

23

Adams had a monumental in tonight’s win, putting up 23 points on 69 percent shooting from the floor. He also added 13 rebounds, nine of those being on the offensive end. He gave the Thunder many second chances offensively, and was by far the most physical player on the court.

34

It was an awful night for Thunder’s big three, who were abysmal from the floor, and only combined for 34 of the team’s 100 points. They also combined to shoot just 22 percent from the floor, none of the three stars hitting more than four total field goals all night.

29

It was a big night for the Thunder bench, who combined for 29 bench points. They were very consistent, even when all of the big three were out of the game. They were either cutting down deficits or maintaining the lead for Oklahoma City. Patrick Patterson was a bright spot who looked like a guy the Thunder need, playing great defense and hitting big three-pointers.

9

Even with his shot not falling most of the night, Westbrook made his presence known with his ninth triple double of the season. He finished the night with 10 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists. Westbrook and Adams two-man game was very strong tonight, while also Russell got Oklahoma City in transition with all his rebounds on the defensive end.

14

Alex Abrines continues to flourish while being in the starting lineup for the injured Andre Roberson. He finished the night with 14 points on 63 percent shooting from the floor. He had a key offensive putback late in the fourth that gave Oklahoma City the lead, while also hitting four of his six three-point attempts throughout the game. Abrines had a slow start to the season, but has really found his stride in the last couple weeks.

18

A big difference in this game was the free throw numbers. Oklahoma City shot 18 more free throws than Indiana did. The Pacers shot just six free throws, compared to the Thunder’s 24 attempts. Even though Oklahoma City only made 15 of those attempts, the poor percentage did not matter since they shot so many more than Indiana.

19

Victor Oladipo has been on fire much of the season, and it was crucial Oklahoma City slowed him down in order for the Thunder to get a win tonight. Victor did finish with a solid 19 points, but Oklahoma City held him to just 37 percent shooting from the floor. That is even more impressive considering that Thunder’s best perimeter defender in Roberson was out tonight.

13

When Oklahoma City can hit a decent amount of three-pointers at a good percentage, it usually leads to good things. The Thunder hit 13 total threes tonight, four of those coming from the bench unit. They shot 45 percent from three, even though it was a rough night offensively for the big three. Abrines led the way with his four makes from deep, while Carmelo and George each hit two from deep as well.

2.5

After tonight’s win, it probably shows Oklahoma City fans should not be in panic mode, as they are just 2.5 games back from the four seed. Thunder currently sit at the eight seed, just a game below .500. If the Thunder can string a few together in the next couple weeks, they will be right at the top half of the conference once again.

 

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Thunder beat Pacers in Paul George’s return

While Paul George gathered up all of the pre-game chatter. He took in the boos and the jeers. However, it was Steven Adams who brought it tonight, scoring 23 points and pulling down 13 rebounds as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Indiana Pacers 100-95.

Oklahoma City improves to 13-14 on the year and won five of the last seven.

In Paul George’s first return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse since being traded in June, the boos reigned down from the first time he took the court for warm ups to his last touches in the final seconds. While the crowd wasn’t overly aggressive or anything, it had an apparent effect on George as he struggled shooting all night, finishing only 3-of-14 from the floor for 12 points.

While the Big Three struggled all evening long, it was Steven Adams who came to the rescue. Adams had 15 points at halftime and was the catalyst for everything Oklahoma City did. He was a scoring and rebound machine. He also had a huge hand in the clutch possession, forcing Thaddeus Young into a turnover. Oklahoma City rode the Kiwi train all the way to victory town.

After a sluggish first quarter, Raymond Felton and the Oklahoma City Thunder bench found the lead, with a 9-0 run to start the second quarter. Oklahoma City eventually took the league late in the quarter and held a 51-46 lead at halftime.

Russell Westbrook pulled down his ninth triple-double of the season and the 35th of 2017, which is an NBA record for a calendar year.

The Pacer’s winning streak ended at four as they had won 11 of their last 15.



Indiana charged back early in the third quarter, taking a 63-59 lead as Thunder nation held their breath. However, Oklahoma City would outscore the Pacers 14-6 down the stretch, taking a 73-69 lead into the fourth quarter.

Oklahoma City’s bench did their job again with a couple of Patrick Patterson three-pointers, including one to give Oklahoma City a 92-81 lead with 5:16 remaining in the game.

Indiana would get within 96-95 with 40.8 seconds remaining but a last second tip in by Alex Abrines gave Oklahoma City a three-point lead for good. George would ice the game with two free throws.

“I was impressed. He’s not a very strong guy,” Josh Huestis said of Abrines.

With the victory, coupled with the Jazz loss, the Oklahoma City Thunder moved into the eighth spot in the Western Conference.

Oklahoma City will continue the show on the road as they head to the East coast for a back-to-back with Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night. Then, it’s Ron Baker and the New York Knicks on Saturday night. Both games are scheduled to tip-off at 6 p.m. CST.

Keys to the Game

Defend the three: B

While the Pacers made 35.5 percent of their threes, you really have to examine how they got to the point. Outside of the opening quarter, the Thunder held the Pacers to 6-of-20 (30 percent). Quality close out defense really helped the Thunder tonight.

Bench: A+

Tonight, the bench was amazing. They were why Oklahoma City was even in the game. They were why the Thunder even fought. When you have these players come off the bench, cold as ever, and contribute, it gives your team a boost. Oklahoma City’s bench scored 29 points tonight, well above their season average of 23 points.

Make your free throws: D

The Thunder missed a bunch of free throws again, only made 62.5 percent. Oklahoma City has to and I mean HAS to find a way to make their free throws. Westbrook missed four free throws and Anthony missed two himself. Oklahoma City has to figure this out.

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