Welp, to say that was a big win last night would be an understatment. The Thunder desperately needed that one for, a) playoff implications, and b) confidence. A loss here would’ve extended their losing streak to 4 and pushed them down to the bottom of the postseason picture.
Instead, Russell Westbrook picked up a triple-double, the Thunder had good shot selection, and now sit at fifth in the West. The open looks weren’t always falling on Sunday night, but rather than going rogue, OKC stuck with their game plan, and allowed the game to come to them. They were able to battle through the scoreless spells, remain composed down the stretch, and come out with a win.
Much of this was thanks to Paul George, who finished with a game-high 27. He epitomized sticking to his guns after going 21 minutes without a bucket. Russ went back to him late in this one, and PG came through with a clutch corner three to keep New Orleans at arm’s length.
Russ and PG are good and all, but Steven Adams is still the greatest.
The big Kiwi was dunking on everyone for Easter, which of course made my weekend. I hope it made yours too.
Steven Adams did not like Anthony Davis' April Fools joke pic.twitter.com/ETd5j1hD1D— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) April 1, 2018
Steven Adams gets his night started with a poster dunk on Okafor pic.twitter.com/WvXWMU5xYt— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) April 1, 2018
He finished with 14 and 10 for his 28th double-double of the season, but his biggest impact could be felt on the defensive end. Adams tirelessly fought through screens all night long to stick with Anthony Davis. You’re never going to completely shut down Davis, but Adams managed to keep him in check with his physical defense, which allowed OKC to take advantage.
- Russ now has 5 straight triple-doubles against New Orleans.
- George, Russ, Melo, and Adams combined for 83 points last night.
- Sunday’s game was quite sloppy, as OKC and New Orleans had 18 and 21 turnovers, respectively. The Pelicans careless play ultimately cost them the game late in the fourth quarter.
- Jerami Grant was great off the bench again yesterday, finishing with 12 points on 5/5 shooting. He’ll be a huge plus for Billy Donovan if he can keep this up heading into the playoffs.
- Terrance Ferguson did not play on Sunday after getting regular rotation minutes for most of March
- OKC now sits at 5th in the west. They’re 0.5 games back from San Antonio and are tied with the Spurs in the win column.
- Utah is tied with the Thunder in the loss column, but remain 0.5 games back.
- Minnesota is currently in 7th following their loss to Utah on Sunday. They’re now 1 game back from OKC and tied with the Pelicans in the loss column.
- New Orleans sits in the eighth spot, just 1 game back from Utah and 0.5 games back from Minnesota.
A Look Ahead
The Thunder welcome Golden State to town on Tuesday night, with an opportunity for a win against the injury-plagued Warriors. This game becomes much more important as OKC heads to Houston on Saturday. Following these two matchups, the Thunder wrap up their season against the Miami Heat and Memphis Grizzlies.