The Oklahoma City Thunder finally got on the board with a win tonight against the Phoenix Suns. The Thunder showed a fast-paced offense, stifling defense, and came away with a 117-110 victory. OKC had three players score 20 points and five players score in double digits.
Steven Adams was inactive tonight with a calf strain, so off-season pickup Nerlens Noel stepped into the starting lineup in Adams’ absence. Noel would start at center along with Jerami Grant, Paul George, Terrance Ferguson and Russell Westbrook.
The Thunder used a strong initial push and solid defense at the rim to build a sturdy lead and took a 62-48 lead into halftime. George had a solid first half offensively, scoring 15 points. Westbrook did a great job setting up his teammates and creating easy shots for them, taking a big step back in his shot selection. In fact, despite finishing with 23 on the night, Westbrook finished the first half with only two field goals.
In the second half, the Thunder did not let up off the gas on either end. OKC’s defense stayed aggressive, and the offensive shot selection was tremendous, cutting way back on the overzealous 3-point attempts. There were many layups, open threes, easy dunks, and then this happened.
The Thunder led 96-76 after three and coasted to a victory.
The Thunder shot 50% from the field, after coming into tonight’s game last in field goal percentage. The Thunder scored 60 points in the paint and dished 22 assists. They also forced 22 turnovers. They shot 24 of 35 from the free throw line (68%), and also 7 of 24 from three (29%) so there is still much work to be done.
Westbrook finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. George also scored 23 points (9-of-15 shooting), dished five assists, and pulled down five boards. Noel had a monster night with 20 points and 15 rebounds filling in for Adams. Grant scored 14 points (4-of-9 shooting). Patterson had a solid night with 17 points off the bench. Schroder also scored 12 points off the bench.
TJ Warren led the Suns with 18 points. Rookie DeAndre Ayton had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Ryan Anderson also put in 15 points.
Final note: beware Russell Westbrook trying to take your pizza.
Before the game Russell Westbrook offered up a trade with this young OKC fan: His piece of pizza for one of Westbrook's shoes. Westbrook handed over the shoe, but ended up passing on the pizza. Seems like a bad trade to me. pic.twitter.com/EVHKK1iejK— Royce Young (@royceyoung) October 29, 2018