The Oklahoma City Thunder (9-5) defeated the New York Knicks (4-11) on Wednesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena, winning in blowout fashion by a final score 128-103. The victory was Oklahoma City’s second in a row and ninth out of the last ten. Paul George led the way with a season-high 35 points for the Thunder, as Russell Westbrook missed his fifth-consecutive game recovering from a left ankle sprain. Dennis Schroder recorded a season-high 12 assists in Westbrook’s absence.
The Thunder got out to a fast start with a 19-7 lead, converting on their first 8-of-12 shots from the field. The offense generated easy looks, scoring 22 points in the paint in the opening quarter. Schroder was especially effective, scoring 9 points on 3-0f-4 shooting, along with 6 assists in the first 12 minutes. OKC carried that opening momentum to a 37-22 lead after one.
Consistent Thunder offense remained throughout the second quarter, as OKC finished the first half shooting 56.5 percent from the field. George caught fire as he put together 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 2-of-5 from three-point range. The Thunder took a 65-49 lead into the locker room at the break.
Thunder teams of yesteryear might’ve grown complacent with a double-digit lead over an inferior opponent, but not tonight. The Thunder were able to break open a 14-0 run midway through the third quarter after George nailed his fifth three-pointer of the night. OKC’s advantage ballooned to 100-80 heading into the final frame.
Billy Donovan was able to empty the bench in the fourth quarter as the Thunder maintained a 20+ point lead throughout the closing minutes. The Thunder will look to add to their winning streak on Saturday night as they travel to Phoenix to face the Suns for the third time in the early go-round of the season.
Paul George full highlights:
Dennis Schroder full highlights:
Schroder to PG for the transition hammer:
Westbrook Remains Out: Despite some late morning rumblings, courtesy of Paul George, of Westbrook’s possible return from a sprained left ankle, the starting point guard missed his fifth straight game. In total, Westbrook has missed as many games this season as games in which he’s played (seven). Westbrook’s status for Saturday’s matchup in Phoenix has yet to be announced.
New Threads: In honor of Oklahoma’s Native American heritage, the Thunder debuted their City Edition jerseys tonight. The vibrant turquoise is a new wrinkle for the Thunder. One that, in my opinion, agrees with them. Now, what needs to be done in order to bring back those navy blue alternates with the vertical “Thunder” on the side of the jersey?
(Editor’s Note: No, Rob. No.)
PG Stays Hot: George’s scoring efficiency carried over from Monday night as the All-NBA wing recorded a season-high 35 points (13-of-22 FG, 5-of-11 3P, 4-of-4 FT), 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block in only 29 minutes. With the Thunder lead well in-hand, George sat for the duration of the fourth quarter. George is averaging 33.5 points (58.5 FG%, 52.4 3P%, 100 FT%) this week. This team is almost unbeatable when he can score at such a high level.
Shooters Shoot: The Thunder hit a season high 16 three-pointers tonight, shooting 48.5 percent as a team from downtown. After shooting 48.1 percent from three on Monday, the Thunder are finally converting on their looks from long range. This type of shooting is such a shot in the arm for a team that defends as well as the Thunder do this season.
Return of Brother ‘Stache: Enes Kanter made his second return trip to OKC tonight and received a warm standing ovation checking into the game midway through the first quarter. Steven Adams welcomed his former Stash Brother by putting home an emphatic dunk on Kanter shortly after he hit the floor. Adams dominated his matchup tonight, pitching in 19 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block. Kanter finished with an uber-efficient 19 points in only 22 minutes.
Grant Going Streaking: Wednesday marked the 11th straight game where Jerami Grant scored double-digit scoring, as he finished with 15 points. Grant was feeling the stroke from downtown tonight, shooting 3-of-5 from three-point range. Grant is shooting 42.4 percent from three since becoming the Thunder’s starting power forward.