box score | Bright Side of the Sun
The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Phoenix Suns at home, 118-101. A game after showing some wear in Dallas, the Thunder got back to their primary strategic focus on their defense and rode it to a daunting 32-13 first quarter lead. While the Thunder wavered and wobbled a bit in the 3rd, watching a 28 point lead dwindle all the way to 7, they were able to push forward and hold onto the comfortable win.
Paul George led the way with one of his best offensive performances of the season, scoring 32 on 11-19 shooting, including 6-10 from 3-point range. George’s output led an unusual long-range shooting display where OKC as a team hit 13-27 total. But what was markedly different from Saturday’s loss is most of those shots came within design and not simply due to desperation or laziness. OKC has to remain disciplined in the shots it searches for beyond the arc.
Steven Adams was a man among boys in the first half, completely dominating Deandre Ayton, practically toying with the Phoenix front line throughout. Which is why it was so perplexing that Adams barely got a shot up in the 2nd half, even as OKC’s offense turned dumb for a lengthy stretch. Adams finished with an impressive 18 on 8-13 shooting to go along with 7 boards, 4 steals, and 2 blocks, along with several smirks and head rubs for every time Dennis Schroder blew another layups off of Adams’ attempted assist.
The only other thing worth noting — While Raymond Felton wasn’t ‘good’ per se, I saw a concerted effort by him to actively get Nerlens Noel involved in the offense. Noel continues to be patient with the system, but I remain impressed with what he can do in limited opportunities. He finished with 9 points and 6 rebounds in 15 minutes and provides great pick and roll defense whenever he has to hedge or switch out on perimeter players.
Other than that, the Thunder roll on, successfully not blowing an easy game. Next up — Enes Kanter returns!
Apologies for late posting of recap.