The Thunder struggled in many aspects but shined in others. What seemed to be a potential opening night blowout win for the Warriors quickly turned into a close game after the second half began.
The defense of OKC was reminiscent of it’s championship contending days as they held the Warriors to only 108 points in the game. Which definitely isn’t much for a team that is comprised of five all-stars of which four were active.
Despite the stellar defensive wing, Andre Roberson, being out, the Thunder held most of the Warriors to poor shooting nights. The defense held Kevin “Drama Queen” Durant to 27 points on 9-of-21 shooting including 0-of-5 from beyond the arc. They also held Klay “Game Six” Thompson 14 points on 5-of-20 shooting and 1-of-8 from beyond the arc. The defense still allowed Stephen Curry to shoot well. You could be throwing boulders at that guy and he would be unphased and still hit his shots. Curry had 32 points and shot 11-of-20 on the night and 5-of-9 from three.
The Thunder were really killed by their poor shooting in the first half and that came back to bite them in the second half. The Thunder had a good chance at winning if their shots would have gone in the bucket (obviously).
The Good (Again)
Dennis Schröder looks promising and as of right now appears to be a front runner for Sixth Man of the Year, once Russell Westbrook returns. He had 21 points and five assists. He even channeled his inner Westbrook and “stat padded” for nine rebounds.
The promising rookie, Hamidou Diallo, had a nice debut with four points, one assist and one rebound in nine minutes. Diallo’s game was much better than the second-year player, Terrance Ferguson, who played 27 minutes and tallied four rebounds and one assist.
Thunder fans should definitely be looking at Diallo to be playing more of a role than Ferguson within the next few weeks, that is if Billy Donovan learns how to play better rotations.
Paul George couldn’t get his shot falling in the first half but he sipped some of “Michael’s Secret Stuff” during the half. He came out with flames covering his body hitting four straight shots that would be a part of the rally to give the Thunder their only short-lived lead of the night. George finished the game with 27 points, five assists, four steals and two rebounds on 9-of-23 shooting and 4-of-12 from beyond the arc.
All in all the rebounding of OKC is what caused the loss for the Thunder, or the lack thereof. OKC finished the night -11 in the rebounding column and that was the result of players not remembering what boxing out is. There were numerous plays where a Golden State player would fly by a Thunder player who wasn’t boxing out on missed shots, which there were plenty of on Tuesday night.
The Good (For The Last Time)
Westbrook will be back soon. This Thunder squad, who was missing it’s franchise player, looks to be a force to be reckoned with once the return happens. The Thunder defense is in midseason form as they had 11 steals and six blocks total. They held the notorious shooting squad to only 44 percent from the field and 27 percent from three. If the defense stays like this all year, the Thunder could very realistically end the season as the No. 2 seed and make a solid playoff run. Let’s just hope we see a consistent Thunder team this season for once in franchise history.
Side notes: Stephen Curry has an old man haircut. Dennis Schröder has a really cool haircut. Russell Westbrook is just as intense on the bench as he is on the court.
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