Coming into the game, Oklahoma City was playing a Brooklyn Nets team that had lost seven straight games. As mentioned in the preview, the Thunder would need to avoid a letdown in order to win this game.
Well, through three quarters it seemed as the Thunder had done just that, getting blown out by the Nets and looking horrible in the process. However, behind great fourth quarter defense and the offensive firepower of Paul George, OKC was able to steal a 114-112 win over Brooklyn. The comeback from 23 down and and a 20 point deficit in the 4th was OKC’s largest in franchise history.
1. Brooklyn Scoring on OKC’s top ranked defense
Something that has been discussed heavily this season is how good the Thunder’s defense has been this season. Yet, the Nets were able to execute and score with ease versus the Thunder through the first three quarters. Brooklyn had six players in double figures and shot great from three.
The Nets scoring was led by Allen Crabbe, who went 7-13 from behind the three point arc. In order to score, Brooklyn took advantage of the Thunder switching on every on ball screen. That’s why late in the fourth quarter, Billy Donovan made the adjustment of taking Steven Adams out the game. With Adams off the court, there was no more advantage when the Thunder switched on screens. The strategy led to Brooklyn struggling to get the same open looks and being unable to score on their final possession of the game.
2. Paul George
Early in the game, there was no sign that George would have such a huge offensive outburst. He started the game 1-5 and was quiet along with the rest of the Thunder through the first three quarters. But once George got subbed in early in the fourth quarter, he quickly caught a hot hand.
George ended up with 47 points on the night, and 25 of those points coming in the fourth quarter alone. He was scoring from everywhere on the court — from three, off the dribble, in the post, and from the free throw line. To top it off, George hit a wide open three pointer with 8.1 seconds remaining which ended up being the game winner.
Here’s a looking at George’s shot that won the game:
Paul George dropped 47 (25 in the 4th) AND HIT THE GAME WINNER pic.twitter.com/Nvkr053Psz— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 6, 2018
George’s 4th quarter statline: 25 points on 9-12 shooting, 4-6 from three, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, and the game winner.
Both George and Russell Westbrook made history tonight in Brooklyn. George’s 47 was the most points scored in the Barclays Center history (and one shy from his career high of 48). Westbrook passed Jason Kidd for third all time in the most triple doubles list with 108.
Even though Westbrook against struggled shooting the ball, he finished with 21 points, 15 rebounds, and 17 assists. Four of those 4th quarter assists went to PG, including the game winner.
As Paul George cooked, Westbrook got almost entirely out of the way. He took one iffy 3 to try and tie the game with about three minutes left, and missed a transition layup with 30 seconds left. Those were his only two attempts in the fourth, and he had five assists, four to PG.— Royce Young (@royceyoung) December 6, 2018
After a sluggish start and what looked like to be a bad lost, Thunder fans must be ecstatic about this win. With the win OKC is now tied for second in the West and only a half game back of first place Denver.
This celebration should sum up the mood of every Thunder fans after tonight’s game: