It was a dramatic Friday night at the ‘Peake. The Thunder struggled in the early going and found themselves trailing 38-18 heading into the second quarter. Paul George’s absence was clearly disrupting their rhythm, but OKC was able to cut the Buck’s lead to 14 at the half.
The Thunder came out of the break to win the third quarter while Russell Westbrook took over in the fourth. Westbrook finished with 40-14-9 but the final ten seconds of this one is where we’ll draw our attention.
With 4.7 seconds left, clutch Russ made an appearance by knocking down a huge three pointer to tie the game at 95.
On the following possession, Giannis drove baseline on Josh Huestis to score the game winning layup over Westbrook with 0.9 seconds left. While getting to the hoop, the Bucks’ star clearly stepped out of bounds with a referee standing right on the baseline.
The Thunder got off to a horrible start and dug themselves a pretty deep hole, so it’s difficult to blame the outcome of last night’s game on the officials, however this was a tough blown call.
Bucks win. Giannis gets the game-winner here — even though he very clearly stepped out of bounds. No call. Ball game. pic.twitter.com/VSSMglXg2v— Up The Thunder (@UpTheThunder) December 30, 2017
This is a prime example of the flaws that exist in the current replay system. Not being able to review a play like this makes absolutely zero sense, since the outcome of the game was literally determined by not making the correct call.
Regardless of an imperfect system, Friday’s contest ended with quite the sequence.
- Russ added one more poster to his 2017 resume:
Russell Westbrook just about ripped the rim off the backboard and made Thon Maker wear it as a hat GOD DAMN pic.twitter.com/Ku5L5f98Ow— Agent of NBA Chaos (@World_Wide_Wob) December 30, 2017
- But here’s the real MVP of this clip:
THIS LITTLE THUNDER FAN GOT ME READY TO RUN THROUGH A WALL pic.twitter.com/eE1NP1GmIw— Agent of NBA Chaos (@World_Wide_Wob) December 30, 2017
- OKC struggled from the free throw line, finishing 12-20. This was evident in the final 2 minutes on Friday as Raymond Felton and Westbrook went 1-5 on back-to-back trips to the line. Those aren’t ideal numbers from two guards.
- The Thunder had just 16 assists. This is another result of George’s absence.
- Also this:
Derrick Stafford (crew chief) and Leon Wood also officiated the Warriors-Cavaliers game on Christmas.— Erik Horne (@ErikHorneOK) December 30, 2017
Tough week for those two.
- Josh Huestis was solid in 28 minutes of action last night. He was a team best +21 and finished with 5 points.
- Carmelo Anthony and Jerami Grant each had 12 points on the night.
- Alex Abrines started in place of Paul George and things did not go well. We’ll leave it at that.
A Look Ahead
The Thunder cap off 2017 by welcoming the Dallas Maverick’s to town tomorrow night. Dennis Smith is coming off of the first triple double of his career.
Andre Roberson was not on the court for the final sequence of Friday’s game. According to Billy Donovan it was due to an injury, but we have no details. Something to keep an eye on.