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Never mind that the Thunder are in the middle of a rebuild. No, the opponent wasn’t a championship contending Lakers, Clippers or Bucks team. So what if Thunder killer Andrew Wiggins didn’t play. The fact that OKC was 8-12 going into the game, who cares.
This is a game, and specifically the least likely and most spectacular turn of events to send the game into overtime, that you will keep stored in your brain’s Thunder rolodex of memories for the rest of your life.
The game was so epic that instead of writing a traditional recap, I’ll just list and rank the highlights that made this one special and that the little Inside Out characters in your brain will designate as core memories.
5. Rookie two-way player Lou Dort getting his first NBA action and coming in on a routine, last 24 seconds defensive possession, forcing a turnover and jumping on the ball to give OKC the possession before the end of regulation.
4. SGA just completely overtaking overtime. It’s what we see superstars do, just putting a team on their back and willing their team to a win in OT. And in the extra period, Shai looked the part of superstar by scoring 11 points in five minutes.
3. Chris Paul scoring 30 points, while Steven Adams, Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder scored 21+ each. The first time in Thunder history, and first time in 15 years in the NBA, that five teammates scored 20+ points.
2. CP3 noticing Jordan Bell’s shirt being untucked as he checked into the game, snitching on him to referee Scott Foster, and the Thunder being rewarded a technical free throw with less than 2 seconds left because it was their second delay of game.
1. That pass. That catch. That finish. Lamar Jackson may win NFL MVP this season, Patrick Mahomes may get all the hype, and Tom Brady may have the rings, but Steven Adams is the best quarterback alive right now. His full court pass to Dennis Schroder as time expired was a thing of beauty, sailing 30 yards and landing right over Jeff Teague’s outstretched arms and falling beautifully into Schroder’s bread basket. Schroder played the ball perfectly, caught it with one hand, and had the presence of mind and soft touch to get the layup off before the buzzer sounded.
The Thunder stole one from the Timberwolves tonight, and in the process, exercised some Ghosts of Andrew Wiggins Past.
I may never forget the night that Wiggins banked in a 30 foot 3 point game winner off the backboard, but now I have a Minny Memory to go alongside it: the night Steven Adams turned Steven McNair and pulled out a Loud City Miracle.
- Thunder fans were just minding their own business expecting a tank this season, and the team messed around and decided to be one of the most fun, entertaining OKC squads in recent memory.
- Wolves fans are heated and social media is collectively calling him a snitch, but ultimately Chris Paul’s noticing the untucked jersey is a high IQ move that forced the refs to blow the whistle. The rules are the rules, and CP3’s Serpico moment led to a win.
- Half of the 2019-2020 Thunder Highlights Mix Tape is going to be Steven Adams full court passes.
- The Utah Utes could’ve used Steven Adams at quarterback tonight, am I right OU fans?
- Mount Rushmore of Oklahoma Quarterbacks: Jamelle Holieway, Baker Mayfield, Sam Bradford, Steven Adams.
- Just one more Adams quarterback joke, I promise.
- Anyone else kicking themselves for starting Dak Prescott over Steven Adams in their fantasy football playoffs this weekend?
- Abdel Nader drew the start with Terrance Ferguson out tonight, and he mostly played the TFerg role to perfection: he stood in the corner and was ignored by the other starters.
- Steven Adams outmuscled three Timberwolves players at one time for a loose ball. Like, their 6 hands versus his 2 hands and he won it. Felt like I was watching a trailer for Aquaman 2.
- Andrew Wiggins must have had Jeff Teague hold his Shazam staff before the game and instill in him his Thunder killing powers.
- The last time Paul scored 30 was over a year ago: November 2, 2018. Squeezing in a 30 point game before December 15th. I see you, CP3.
- This may sound crazy considering his lack of playing time, but I think that Lou Dort is going to be good enough to stick around for the rebuild. The Thunder have a lot of young players. SGA is the future face of the franchise, Darius Bazley and Hamidou Diallo look like keepers, Terrance Ferguson is a question mark and Abdel Nader, Deonte Burton, Devon Hall and Justin Patton are likely goners. Dort, though, has just the right combination of size, tenacity, athleticism, effort, mentality and the “it” factor. I’m calling my shot.
- I’ve watched that incredible Adams to Schroder highlight about 200 times now, but after about 5 times, my awe and wonder over that miraculous play waned and it was all about the hilarious and wholesome shove and hug between Dennis and the OKC security guard.
- The crowd was probably 70% full tonight, until the last few seconds when it looked like the Wolves had the game wrapped up. About 30% of The Peake remained for the insane final 1.1 seconds of regulation and overtime, which is a disappointment but also really impressive when you realize how loud 30% of Loud City can get.
- The Thunder are now in 9th place in the Western Conference and only one game back of the 8 seed. Chins up, though, Team Tank. OKC is about to go on a four game road trip where they will play the Blazers, Jazz, Kings and Nuggets.