The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 113-94. Taking their act to Tulsa, the Thunder faced little resistance in their third game of the pre-season. After a rocky early going, OKC cruised to a big lead and never looked back.
The Thunder were led by backup PG and former Hawk starter Dennis Schroder who, in 27 minutes of action, finished with a nice cool 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Paul George, while struggling from the field a bit, still finished with 22 points, 6 boards, and 6 steals, including 9-10 from the free throw line. Mr. Steven Adams struggled a bit with 5 turnovers, but still managed an 8-9 game with several nifty assists. He also was food-shamed by Russell Westbrook, though I am sure Adams has zero regrets.
Steven Adams, ladies and gentlemen. The undisputed eating champion of the world. pic.twitter.com/s41lJmXFtE— Up The Thunder (@UpTheThunder) October 7, 2018
With respect to our Hawks fans, this game was really just a matter of talent discrepancy. OKC simply has more of it, and even with Westbrook and Andre Roberson out, the combination of George and Schroder were more than enough to pull away in the 3rd.
While OKC’s overall metrics weren’t overwhelming in that decisive 3rd, where they shot 44% from the floor, it was the combination of their stout defense, which held Atlanta to only 22% shooting, to go along with securing defensive rebounds that led to the largest lead in the game. And it was George who led the way scoring nearly half their points, finishing with 16 points and 3 steals. Overall, the Thunder outscored Atlanta in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, 67-38.
The only downside to this afternoon’s game was a possible injury sustained by Terrance Ferguson:
Terrance Ferguson left the game early in the first quarter and won't return because of concussion-like symptoms.— Royce Young (@royceyoung) October 7, 2018
I commented on this in the game preview, but Jerami Grant still looks all out of sorts. I know he’s been working on his jumper, which looks much more natural this season, but it is leading him to reach for elements that are still outside of his natural game. He shot only 3-8 on the afternoon, which included several long two’s. I can’t recall a time where he’s actually worked out of the pick and roll set, primarily settling for jumpers or shooting contested shots in ISO sets.
Meanwhile, rookie Hamidou Diallo continues to be a spark for the bench, and it is almost as if he’s a carbon version of a younger Grant. He rarely lets the ball stick in his hands, he looks for ways to stay on the court (rebounds, loose balls), and due to his hard work finished in double digit scoring after a strong showing in Minnesota.
(subtitle: TFW you have to be careful not to hit your face on the rim)
Alas, still no 3-point attempts from Mr. Food Network. Maybe next time.
Fun fact: the Thunder almost ended up in Tulsa!