The Thunder have had a few days off to think about the royal rogering that the took from the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday evening. Not a lot went well that night. If you want to subject yourself to the torture that was that game you can click here.
Let us not dwell on that, but focus on tonight’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers. This game starts a slate of four where OKC plays teams that are talking about championships.
The Thunder are 19-2 all time against the 76ers, but those teams had Russell Westbrook and/or Kevin Durant on those teams. Tonight it is Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander against Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
The Sixers were a big favorite coming into this game, but the Thunder hung tough and even got a big lead late in the game. But it went to OT and the Thunder had enough and broke the game open. They had a 10 point lead in the extra period and held on to win 127-119.
The game starts off with the aforementioned Ben Simmons taking SGA down into the low block and making some nice passes to open three point shooters. SGA does not have the strength to deal with the size of Simmons. Not that many or any other point guards do either. Philly jumps out to a 12-3 lead.
SGA makes a nice runner, but the Thunder are on their heels defensively. They are running all over the floor chasing the ball. I’ve seen two moments early where they have two and three guys on a person without the ball. They need to get their discipline up and stay home. Philly wants you to switch.
Steven Adams has to go to the locker room for some reason. Will have to find out about that later.
The Thunder have been called for three offensive fouls for pushing off. These were obvious calls and this has been called a lot so far this season.
Thunder are turning the Sixers over and go on an 8-0 capped by a three from Terrance Ferguson. Good showing by OKC to cut the 12 point lead down to five, 29-24.
Adams is back in to start the second, so whatever he went to the locker room for must have not been serious at all.
The Thunder continued to attack and forced a couple more turnovers by the 76ers and jumped out to a 33-32 lead. Here OKC took the air out of the ball and slowed the game down. Even off turnovers they’d get into their half court sets and force the 76ers to defend for most of the shot clock.
Noel has been so effective early on both ends of the court. He’s disrupting on the defensive end, getting strong rebounds, and moving around the court on offense. It might be time to start giving him more of Adams minutes. The Thunder take a four point lead here.
As I type that Adams comes back in, gets mixed up in a switch and gives up a three pointer to Josh Richardson. Soon after he gets out jumped and hustled on two rebounds.
Thunder are now going with hack-a-Simmons up by five points. Simmons does knock down both free throws for the first time ever. SGA hits a three and the Thunder go up five at half, 54-49.
Oklahoma City simple outhustled the Sixers through the first half of the game. After Philly got up 12-3 it was pretty much all OKC after that through the first half. Noel provided a big spark off the bench along with Darius Bazley and his monster dunk.
Thunder out strong to start the third, jumping out to an eight point lead. SGA decided no one was going to be able to guard him in the quarter. He attacked the basket at will, Josh Richardson and Ben Simmons both had a hard time tracking him.
Philadelphia thought they no longer had to play defense in the paint in the third. Thunder attacking and scoring at will. Danilo Gallinari with a big slam blowing by everyone. That shouldn’t happen. Gallo lost his speed seven knee surgeries ago.
OKC bench outscoring Philly’s bench 17-8 so far through three and a half.
Philly tightened up on the defensive and offensive ends, going on a 14-2 run to take an eight point lead of their own. The Thunder did not have an answer for Josh Richardson. He was scoring almost at will in the third. Thunder have done a great job at slowing down Tobias Harris (who has been struggling a bit since getting paid), but Richardson and Embiid are doing more than enough to make up for it.
OKC trailed 83-80 after three.
Philly is carrying the momentum, but it’s not the fault of Noel. He’s been working hard against Embiid all night. Really impressed with how well Noel has hung with him tonight. A few minutes later he does foul out. His sixth foul shouldn’t have been a foul though. Not all his efforts are going to show up on the stat sheet tonight.
Noel battled hard.
Mike Muscala comes in instead of Steven Adams here. He had a hard time guarding Al Horford and Embiid. That’s not Muscala’s game. Knocking down threes and finding the red hot Ferguson on the perimeter is. Thunder cut the Sixers lead down to 96-93.
Chris Paul killed the Sixers on the sweep through tonight. He caught Simmons on it at least three times.
With the scored tied at 107, Embiid had a shot to put the Thunder up, but missed badly from 22 feet. It ended up being a shot clock violation. The Thunder had a chance to win it with 3.9 seconds left.
The obvious call was to get it to Paul who had 12 points in the fourth, but they decided to ISO Gallo at the top of the key and missed his shot long from 20 feet with Tobias Harris draped all over him. We head to the first overtime of the season.
Ferguson started off the extra period with a three from the top of the arch.
Gallo followed up with a couple of free throws and a fastbreak three to push the Thunder lead up to 117-111 with 2:37 left in extra time.
The 76ers look dead on their feet. Embiid can’t move and there is zero offensive cohesity from the Sixers in OT.
Paul had 27, Gallinari had 28, SGA with 24, and Ferguson had a season high 24.
- Steven Adams is not athletic enough to deal with Embiid and then Nerlens Noel isn’t strong enough to deal with him.
- The 76ers looks bigger and stronger than the Thunder. It’s like the varsity team scrimmaging against the freshman squad.
- Someone needs to get Michael Cage some Ugg slippers. They are legit cozy. Don’t judge.
- I miss the local commercials on League Pass.
- OKC really needs to upgrade these blue uniforms. They could be so much better.
- Kids need to stop flossing... especially to the Star Wars theme.
- Michael Cage is a more subdued Tommy Heinsohn.
- Michael Cage is terrible at this. I think I’ve said this before, but he’s bad at color commentary. It hurts to say because I loved watching Cage as a kid. He was great at the baseline bank shot. Wish YouTube was around in the early 90’s.
The Thunder travel to Los Angeles to take on Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the Clippers on Monday, game is at 9:30 PM.