1) Diallo gets the start: Terrance Ferguson missed this game due to personal reasons so Hamdiou Diallo was given the start at the two spot. Diallo has had an impressive season so far off the bench coming into this game but Diallo struggled in his first start this season, finishing with just two points on 1-4 shooting with three personal fouls in just 22 minutes.
2) Adams returns: Steven Adams returned after missing the previous game against the Bucks due to a left knee contusion. The Thunder have desperately missed his rebounding ability in the games he missed this season and was their best player tonight. Adams finished with 10 points on 5-8 shooting while grabbing five rebounds. The play that got my attention from this game was the Adams’ bounce pass to a cutting Danillo Gallinari in the third quarter that led to Adams’ only assist of the game. The Thunder should try to include more plays that run through Adams’ passing ability since he has shown to be above average at that facet of his game for a big.
3) Road woes continue: The Thunder have still not won a road game this season, having an 0-4 record. The Thunder struggled on both sides of the floor this game, only managing to score 85 points on shooting splits of 35.0/ 20.8/ 87.5 with a 88.5 ORtg. Meanwhile on the defensive side, the Pacers got whatever they wanted on that end, scoring 111 points on 49.5/ 31.8/ 92.3 shooting splits with a 100.0 ORtg. The Thunder have struggled to score on the road this season, only averaging 106.3 PPG which is ranked 21st in the league.
4) OKC struggles from 3: The Thunder were horrendous from three this game, shooting 6/25 (20.8%) from deep. Gallinari failed to record a three this game after scoring two+ three pointers in every game this season. The bad three point shooting is a mixture of the Thunder missing easy looks and the Pacers defending the perimeter well, give Indiana credit for recognizing and exposing the fact that the Thunder aren’t a good three point shooting team (17th in the NBA in 3PMs per 100 possessions at 11.2.)
5) Another bad 3rd quarter: The Thunder have started a disturbing trend of losing games in the third quarter and that trend continued tonight, getting outscored by the Pacers in the third quarter 34-20. The Thunder have the 25th ranked DRtg at 118.6 and the 24th ranked ORtg at 102.8 in third quarters this season. For whatever reason the Thunder seem to really struggle coming out of the halftime break, this could be because they gave their best effort in the first half or the opposition adjusting at the half and breaking games open, either way this has become a bad habit for the Thunder that materialized once again tonight.
6) First real blowout: This was the Thunder’s true blowout loss 11 games into the season. Before this game, the largest margin of defeat the Thunder had was 12 points to the Wizards in their home opener. Fitting because this was the Thunder’s worst overall performance since that game. They couldn’t find any rhythm on offense and the defense struggled communicating. But because of how competitive this team has been this season thus far, this looks like just a bump on the road and not a sign of things to come.
7) Pacers trio leads their team to a win: The Indiana Pacers won this game because of the trio of Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon and TJ Warren. They combined for over half of the team’s point with the trio having 61 of the Pacer’s 111 points tonight on 27-49 shooting (55.1 FG%.) Former Thunder rookie Sabonis finished with a 18-16 double double that included seven of the Pacers’ eleven offensive rebounds. Nobody outside of Adams gave Sabonis much trouble tonight in the post. Sabonis finished with a game high +/- of +27 in just 29 minutes.
8) OKC excellent from the FT line: One of the few positives that can be taken away from this game is the Thunder’s excellence from the free throw line tonight, going 21-24 (87.5%) as a team. The Thunder came into this game 21st in the NBA in team FT% at 74.3%. Key rotation players Chris Paul (84.1%/ 2nd worst in his career,) Steven Adams (26.1%/ career worst) and Dennis Schroder (75.9%/ 2nd worst in his career) are all having some of their worst free throw shooting seasons in their careers so far so it was nice to see them go a combined 5-6(83.3%) tonight.
9) SGA struggles: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a rough game tonight, scoring just 11 points on 3-11 shooting while committing four turnovers to no assists. Gilgeous-Alexander had a miserable -32.2 NRtg and -19 +/- this game. It was a bad game for what has been an impressive campaign this season.
10) CP3 & Gallo struggle: The veterans in Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari also struggled this game. Paul only finished with seven points on 2-7 shooting but did have a nice eight assists along with three steals this game. Gallinari failed to make a three pointer this game for the first time this season, scoring 14 points on 3-8 shooting that included going 0-3 from three. The Thunder would like for these two to be more assertive on offense, finishing with just a 20.0 USG% and a 21.4 USG% respectively. But those USG% numbers can be deceiving since neither of them played in the fourth quarter.
Next Game: The 4-7 Thunder return home to take on the 7-3 Philadelphia 76ers on Friday Nov. 15.