Last night the Celtics gave the Thunder a nice little wake up call, as OKC surged to an 18 point halftime lead but through sloppy play and a defensive let-up, fell to Boston. As WTLC’s own Will Brewer said, it was a tale of two halves.
Let’s focus on what happened in each 24 minute frame last night.
First half: The Thunder’s defense, which has been a centerpiece for this group so far this year, was great. They forced Kyrie Irving into going 1-9, while baffling the Boston with a strong half court presence. It wasn’t as sharp as they were in Milwaukee, but their defensive edge was helping them to create on the other end. 55-37 OKC.
Second half: Maybe they became complacent. Maybe it was Kyrie doing what he does best. Maybe their shots weren’t falling. Regardless of the true cause, the second half was a completely different scene. Boston became more effective in their transition offense, while OKC’s half court defense was not nearly as effective as it was in the first frame. The Celtics turned their focus towards a drive and kick style of play in the third quarter, and their was no turning back for the guys in green.
It was close down the stretch, and there were plenty of defensive positives to take away from last night’s game, however this is another case of the Thunder not being able to close out tight games against quality opponents. It’s still early in the season, but this is something they’ll have to fix down the road.
- Russ’ attire tonight was outstanding:
- Westbrook finished with 19-6-11. OKC is 0-4 when he does not record a triple double.
- Carmelo Anthony was 1-12 in the second half. That’s the worst half of his career when he taking 10+ shots. He would finish with 10 points and 14 boards.
- Paul George led the way tonight with 25 and 10 last night. He was OKC’s most consistent starter.
- Jerami Grant finished with 11. He’s becoming a very reliable spark off of the bench.
- There was some Kiwi on Aussie crime last night at the ‘Peake:
There has been a murder in Chesapeake Energy Arena. pic.twitter.com/cTuEyZH69c— Up The Thunder (@UpTheThunder) November 4, 2017
A Look Ahead
The Thunder now travel out to Oregon for a Sunday night matchup against the Trail Blazers.
Portland currently sits at 5-4, but is looking to ride the momentum of Damien Lillard’s dramatic game winner against the Lakers this past Thursday.
A battle between Russ and Lillard is always one to look forward to, as they’re two of the most prolific scoring guards in the league and have a history of tense play against each other. This should be a high scoring tilt.