Official Box Score link
Well, that was fun.
It doesn’t matter if you are Team Tank or Team Win, beating former Thunder arch rival Joel Embiid and his championship contending Philadelphia 76ers is always fun. Even moreso when the game is a back and forth roller coaster that goes into overtime.
And the cherry on top? A vintage Chris Paul performance and late game takeover.
In a game featuring Embiid, Ben Simmons, Al Horford, Tobias Harris, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Steven Adams and Danilo Gallinari, it was the smallest and oldest man on the court who stood tallest.
CP3 scored 27 points on 13 shots. He was a perfect 12 for 12 from the free throw line. Grabbed 8 boards and dished out 5 assists while committing 0 turnovers. Was a game high +16 in 38 minutes.
Paul was in total command of the game, especially in the deciding fourth quarter and overtime.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has rightfully been the Thunder point guard grabbing all the headlines and praise this season. Dennis Schroder has spearheaded a couple of OKC wins and been buzzed about for early 6thMan of the Year talk. Strangely, the biggest name of the Thunder’s three-headed point guard attack has been the one who has gone the most under the radar this season.
But tonight was a reminder that Chris Paul is still a superstar in this league. And he made sure to celebrate a beloved Thunder superstar point guard tradition and keep it alive and well: beating Embiid and the 76ers.
All that was missing was the dribbling out the clock stare down.
- I thought a Thunder vs 76ers game wouldn’t be nearly as exciting without the Russ and Embiid beef. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
- Forget Chris Paul. The real MVP tonight was Terrance Ferguson’s new haircut.
- Truly, though, let’s give it up for TFerg. The young man has some very serious things going on in his personal life right now, and he went out and had by far his best game of the season. Ferguson scored 19 points on 9 shots, including 5 of 7 from 3.
- Touching moment to hear Ferguson say the reason he had such a good night was because it was his daughter’s first home game. As he left the locker room, he yelled, “Gonna go see my girl!”
- Gallo scored 28, Paul scored 27, Shai scored 24 and Ferguson scored 19. Who else badly wanted TFerg to score one more point in OT so we could get one of those fun “first time four Thunder teammates have scored over 20 points since…” trivia bits?
- Darius Bazley put Joel Embiid on a poster. His being Russ’s doppelganger made it even more perfect.
- Billy Donovan won another challenge tonight. His coach’s challenge stats have improved considerably. Been stroking it from the sideline the last couple games.
- SGA’s excellence just sneaks up on you. You feel like he’s been quiet all game, and all of a sudden you look up and he’s scored 24 points with good efficiency, all while playing high end defense. Even when Paul and Gallo were taking over in the final period and OT, Shai was contributing big buckets that were instrumental in the OKC win.
- With 3.9 seconds left in regulation and the score tied, a handful of the media members were predicting who was going to take the final shot. Between the four of us, we had four different answers. This feels like the Bizarro Thunder.
- It should be said, however, that Jerry Ramsey’s pick of Terrance Ferguson was more of a “it would be cool if” guess rather than a “I think it will be” guess.
- Chris Paul earned himself an extra large V-8 tonight.
- Faint but still very audible scattered MVP chants for Chris Paul were shouted from the OKC crowd as he shot his final free throws in OT. I’ll take “Things I Never Thought I’d Say In My Lifetime” for $400, Alex.
- The Bucks and 76ers have been the Thunder’s last two opponents at The Peake. Those two teams were the most popular picks to win the Eastern Conference this season. One Finals contender lost to OKC in OT and one just barely hung on for a 2 point win. This Thunder team is going to upset a lot of teams when they’re playing at home.
- Thunder is now 5-3 at home and 0-4 on the road. Next two games? At the Clippers and at the Lakers.
- My prediction for OKC’s first road win is November 25. I bet you can guess who they play that night.