Turns out, putting Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and Paul George on the same team is going to a ton of fun. Who knew? After a slow start, shots started to fall and the Thunder got into a nice second half flow to ultimately beat the Knicks by 21. Russell Westbrook had his 80th career triple double, which is cool I guess. But Steven Adams plays really good defense, and that’s definitely cool.
It’s tempting to talk about the trio’s first regular season game together, but I would be doing an injustice if we didn’t first focus on Steven Adams. He was an absolute monster last night. It can be difficult to see his impact when you have three superstars on the court, but his presence, especially on the defensive end, is so significant to this team’s success.
Adams is a terrifying sight to see for opponents heading towards the rim. He’s improved as a shot blocker, and has already shown his versatility on defense. 5 steals and 3 blocks tonight is a nice start to his 2017-18 campaign. His ability to force turnovers creates so much offense for the Thunder, and that showed tonight. Not to mention he was 5-5 from the field, finished with 12 points and had a +27 differential. Pretty solid if you ask me.
He makes defense fun to watch, and I’m all in.
- Russell Westbrook picked up right where he left off last season with 21 points, 16 assists, and 10 rebounds - good for his 80th career triple double.
- Here is Russ’ game one attire:
Russell Westbrook. Fashion icon. pic.twitter.com/9Rsa4FETmD— Leading NBA (@LeadingNBA) October 19, 2017
- George and Melo had 28 and 22, respectively. That’s 71 points for the OK3. Still deciding if I like that nickname or not.
- Westbrook was third on the team in FG attempts last night (7-12 FGs). He was first in all but three games last season. We’ll be seeing a different Russ this season.
- Patrick Patterson made his Thunder debut! He only played 6 minutes, but that’s 6 more than he played in the preseason.
- This postgame interview should make you happy:
- OKC took 38 three pointers tonight. They made 11. That’s not ideal. Surprisingly, there were a lot of good looks, and those shots will eventually fall. Russ, George, and Melo create a ton of open shots for one another, which is something that they haven’t had in the past.
- There was an insane amount of traveling violations last night. That needed to be noted, because either players are still working into game precision, or the league is attempting to crack down on the violations.
- Alex Abrines and Steven Adams waited outside of the Knicks locker room for Enes Kanter, for all you Thunder romantics out there.
- Kanter and McDermott also received standing ovations from the Thunder faithful Here’s Kanter’s:
Here's the big ovation for Enes Kanter in starting lineups: pic.twitter.com/o3nHxn3Knc— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) October 20, 2017
A Look Ahead
The Thunder travel to Salt Lake City to face the Jazz on Saturday night for their first road game of the 2017-18 season.
Utah defeated the Denver Nuggets in their home opener on Wednesday night by a score of 106-96. Rudy Gobert led the way with 18 points and 10 boards, and he’ll be the focal point again on Saturday night. Steven Adams will be given the difficult task of maintaining the 7-1 big man. His 8 foot wing span is tough to defend, so it’ll be interesting to see a defensive specialist like Adams deal with his length and skill.
The Jazz play in Minnesota tonight, so welcoming the Thunder to town on Saturday night will present their first back-to-back of the young season.
What was your highlight of game 1?
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Steven Adams’ presence
other - write in below