Official Box Score https://www.nba.com/games/20191105/ORLOKC#/boxscore
The Thunder is officially streaking. With back to back wins over the Pelicans and Magic, OKC is now up to a frisky 3-4 on the season. While we continue to ride the see-saw of “wins are good” vs “wins are bad,” there’s no denying that the Thunder are playing a highly enjoyable brand of basketball. Good defense, high effort, sharing the ball, finding good shots. And the youthful infusion has injected this team with a spark of endearing energy. Thunder basketball is fun again.
The biggest story of this game, besides Shoeless Gallo, is that Steven Adams finally looked like Steven Adams. After a rough start in his first few games, topped off with an injury that kept him out the past two, the Big Kiwi was back to dominating the glass, showing off some nice finishing touches in the paint, and best of all, crushing the rim on lob dunks. Adams picked up a double-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 block. He was efficient, he directed traffic defensively, made plays for others offensively, and just generally looked spryer and bouncier.
Whispers of Adams being washed or Presti needing to trade him were faint but audible coming into tonight, but Thunder fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Turns out a four game sample size wasn’t enough to declare Adams’ demise.
With a healthy Adams to go alongside a steadily improving Chris Paul, a nightly star performance from Shai, and a walking 20 points in Gallo, not to mention solid contributions from Schroder, Diallo, Bazley and Noel, this Thunder team is going to continue to win more games than expected. It’s up to you as to whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
- The Thunder having players who can hit 3 pointers is such a strange, wonderful feeling.
- Shai is at 41.2% on 4.9 attempts per game, CP3 is at 45.5% on 4.7 attempts, Gallo is at 40.8% on 7 attempts, and wait for it… rookie darling Darius Bazley is at 43.8% on 2.3 attempts per game.
- That’s now two games straight where Thunder U 2.0 impressed.
- Billy warged into the minds of every Thunder fan and decided to toy with an all Thunder U lineup of Shai-Ferguson-Diallo-Bazley-Adams. That’s Steven Adams plus 4 guys who were born when Britney Spears debuted “… Baby One More Time” and “Saving Private Ryan” was #1 at the box office.
- Tuesday night against the superstar-less Orlando Magic. Apologies to any Magic fans or Tuesday night fans, but that’s the most boring night of the week and one of the most boring opponents in the NBA. If ever there was a litmus test game that the OKC crowd was going to be absent or dead, it would have been tonight. But the 65-70% capacity crowd was engaged and loud throughout. Maybe I’m wrong, but there seems to be a tangible feeling in the The Peake of Thunder fans starting to dig this team.
- Evan Fournier is averaging 17 points a game this season. Terrance Ferguson limited him to 4 points on 0-7 shooting. For a 3&D player, TFerg needs to get more shots. He’s showing us the D, now the Thunder need to show him the 3.
- Mike Muscala checked in, missed his one wide open 3, checked out.
- Who hits a 3 next this season, Muscala or Andre Roberson?
- Seriously though, what is it about backup stretch power forwards who come to OKC and forget how to shoot? Patrick Patterson, Markieff Morris and now Mike Muscala.
- Wait. What is about Presti signing backup power forwards with alliterative names that all sound like comic book characters?
- The Thunder has a +3.3 MOV. For comparison sake, the second place Denver Nuggets have a +3.2. The seventh place Rockets have a -3.8. The NBA is wacky this year.
- The Thunder is 1 game out of the 8 seed in the Western Conference. All four of their losses were competitive and close until the final possession.
- This looks to be a season where parity reigns supreme, and if so, where does that leave a team too good to tank, but not good enough to muster up better than an 8 seed at best? Trades are like winter. They is coming.
- I didn’t think the accidental hilarity of the Monday Night Football black cat could be topped, but then Danilo Gallinari decided to play a minute of shoeless basketball. Better yet, decided to play defense in the post with said shoe in hand. Best yet, decided to leap out of bounds to keep the ball in OKC’s possession all while holding onto grande scarpa. Shoots 3’s, guards 7’1” centers, plays without shoes. If the Blazers want Gallo, Portland better give up a 1st round pick, Anfernee Simons, an autographed game worn Clyde Drexler jersey and have the mayor issue a public apology for Dame’s goodbye wave.
- For all the advanced stat nerds: OKC is shooting 100% and limiting opponents to 0 points per 100 possessions when Danillo Gallinari is playing with one shoe in his hand.
- If the Thunder can pull off a road upset over the Spurs on Thursday night, they will be at a surprising .500 eight games into the season. OKC would then be in a perfect spot to pull off a winning record with the worst team in the NBA on tap at home on Saturday: the Golden State Warriors.