The Oklahoma City Thunder are at their absolute best when they are defending at a high level and getting offense from their defense. Since the all-star break, OKC has not consistently defended like they had the first part of the season. Tonight, however, the Thunder reminded the Indiana Pacers and the entire NBA what kind of team they can be.
OKC is in a position where every game is important, as positioning in the Western Conference is at stake. The Thunder began the first of a five game home stand against the Pacers. A 24-0 2nd half run, Russell Westbrook’s 29th triple double, a monster game from Steven Adams, and 31 points from Paul George helped the Thunder get a much needed win on Wednesday night.
The Thunder trailed 54-45 at the half, the offense was struggling to put the ball in the basket. In the third quarter, the Pacers were ahead 58-48 before the Thunder erupted. It was a defensive masterpiece for OKC, as they held the Pacers scoreless for over seven minutes, while piling up 24 straight points. Adams was feeding off of offensive rebounds and passes from Russ. He scored 8 points during the run. Adams had it going inside, which opened up the perimeter for threes from George, Russ and Jerami Grant. The Thunder led 72-58 before Tyreke Evans finally stopped the bleeding and scored for the Pacers.
In the fourth quarter, OKC continued to build double-digit leads after the Pacers would make short runs. A three from Russ made the score 92-81 with six minutes remaining. The Pacers made one final run late in the game, after Bogdanovic connected on consecutive threes. The Pacers pulled as close as six, but a strong finish at the rim from Grant, a three from Grant, and a shot from Russ gave OKC the final push to victory.
Bogdanovic scored 28 points to lead the Pacers. Myles Turner had a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Domantas Sabonis put in 18 points off the bench.
George led the Thunder with 31 points on 12-of-25 shooting. Adams had a big time double-double with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Westbrook notched his 29th triple double of the season, finishing with 17 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds. Jerami Grant chipped in 19 points.