After watching the dominoes fall into place this past Wednesday, the Thunder were fortunate enough to gain home court advantage in round one of the postseason. They successfully defended the ‘Peake on Sunday night alongside the ruckus Thunder faithful.
Russell Westbrook filled the stat-sheet with 29 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists. He was just 10/25 from the field, but had no issue being defended by Ricky Rubio in game one. Despite his attractive line, it wasn’t Russ that took home the headlines in OKC’s playoff opener.
We’ve heard about the legend of “Playoff P.” The masterful “three-and-D luminary” from Palmdale, California. He’s made memorable appearances in Indianapolis, so I’ve heard. Head to head versus LeBron, or something. The Western Conference had never gotten a chance to witness his greatness until Sunday night, and man, he was worth the hype.
Playoff P finished with 36 points on 13/20 shooting, while setting the franchise record for threes in a playoff game with 8. While dominating one of the NBA’s best defenses, he also forced them to adjust their offense game. Two-way Playoff P is a coach’s dream. He’s just plain ruthless:
“Y’all ain’t met Playoff P yet, huh?”, Paul George asked the media on Saturday afternoon. Well now that Thunder fans have finally gotten their first look at him, I think they’ll be eagerly awaiting his return on Wednesday night.
In late March, George went through a brutal shooting stretch, questioning his mechanics and struggling to find any offensive rhythm. Since then, he’s gradually improved, looking more and more comfortable shooting the ball, culminating in the ridiculous display we saw last night.
Has he finally find his groove back? Maybe, but only time will tell. One thing is for sure however: OKC’s performance fluctuates with George’s shooting. His inconsistencies hurt the Thunder during the season, but when he’s on, the team is more often on the winning end because of the offensive stress it removes from Westbrook. It’s only fitting that a season full of ebbs and flows would culminate with one of the two. Let’s just hope that the tide of Playoff P continues to rise.
- Russ’ game-day fit was phenomenal last night, and had everyone smiling:
Russell Westbrook just makes everyone around him happy. pic.twitter.com/3uh5rBRr5q— Jeff Eisenband (@JeffEisenband) April 15, 2018
- The Thunder shot 20/23 from the line for an 87% clip. A nice improvement from the regular season struggles.
- Donovan Mitchell is still very good at basketball. He finished with 27 points on 11/22 shooting. Mitchell did hurt his toe in the second half, but x-rays came back negative.
- Alex Abrines had 11 points in 21 minutes.
- After the game, Melo and Russ were asked about “Playoff P”:
On Playoff P: “That’s his name? That’s his new name?” pic.twitter.com/PjOjL2HqEK— Brett Dawson (@BDawsonWrites) April 16, 2018
- We got a new, and tremendous, Steven Adams gif: