The Thunder (1-4) finally picked up their first win of the 2018-19 season on Sunday night in Oklahoma City, defeating the Phoenix Suns (1-5) by a final score 117-110. Six Thunder players scored in double-figures in the victory — including 23 apiece from Russell Westbrook and Paul George. Nerlens Noel, who started in place of Steven Adams (calf tightness), added 20 points, 15 rebounds, and 4 steals.
With the first win of the season in the book, the Thunder will return to action on Tuesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena — facing the Los Angeles Clippers at 7:00 PM CST.
Nerlens Noel highlights: 20 pts, 15 reb, 4 stl, 2 ast, 1 blk, +19
Paul George highlights: 23 pts, 4 reb, 5 ast, 3 stl, 2 blk, +17
Russell Westbrook highlights: 23 pts, 9 reb, 7 ast, 4 stl, +8
No Kiwi: Steven Adams was a late scratch due to calf tightness. Nerlens Noel drew the start — which leads me to…
Noel, Noel: Noel was an absolute monster in place of Adams, dropping a stat line of 20 points, 15 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 assists, and a block. He also had an extremely efficient night from the floor, shooting 9-of-14 and wrapping up his night as a +19 in 26 minutes. If Noel’s goal this season is to rebuild his image/value, performances like this one will go a long way toward accomplishing that. While Adams’ injury doesn’t seem serious, having Noel as a measure of security is comforting.
Offensive Bounce Back: While the Thunder left a lot to be desired from beyond the arc (7/24 — 29.2%), the offense as a whole was much improved. OKC shot 50.6 percent from the floor — but did struggle from the free throw line yet again, going 24-of-35 for 68.6 percent.
The Power Forwards: Jerami Grant drew the start at power forward, contributing 14 points and 4 rebounds in 26 minutes of action. Patrick Patterson again looked more effective coming off the bench, as he added a season-high 17 points and 4 rebounds in 30 minutes. This is a very welcomed development for 2Pat and the Thunder.
No Diallo: Hamidou Diallo was inactive tonight after reportedly missing the team’s morning shootaround. Terrance Ferguson scored 6 points in 27 minutes, with Alex Abrines adding 2 points in 24 minutes. Diallo figures to re-enter the rotation on Tuesday night.
Rich, Warm, Compelling: Russ loves the kids.