After getting blown out in back to back games against elite teams like the Bucks and Clippers, the Thunder look to be back on track with a pair of relatively easy wins against the Pistons and Knicks tonight.
Scouting the Knicks is pretty straightforward. They’re an awful team with a surplus of low post bigs surrounded by a bunch of non shooters. OKC needed to clog the paint and driving lanes and force the Knicks to take threes.
And that’s exactly what the Thunder did in a blowout win where they took firm control midway through the first quarter and never let go. This was a well balanced offensive attack as the Thunder had six guys with double digit points. OKC shot great in all three levels with 49.0/ 38.7/ 80.0 shooting splits. The Thunder were able to get anything they wanted on offense in both the transition and the half court.
The Knicks scored 103 points with 64 of those coming in the paint. From the outside, they went an awful 4-24 (16.7%) and didn’t hit a three in the first half. Something unheard of in today’s NBA.
Rumored Knicks trade target Chris Paul led the way with 21 points that included four threes and a 12:1 assist to turnover ratio in just 30 minutes. Paul played like a conductor all game long and really had control of the tempo. Paul had some pretty passes all game long that his teammates couldn’t hit on unfortunately.
Another efficient scoring night for Danilo Gallinari as he finished with 22 points on 7-13 shooting all coming on threes and paint shots. Gallinari’s best quarter was the third as he hit on four of his threes and a long two that was centimeters away from being the fifth.
Picking up on his efficient scoring last game, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 18 points on 6-10 shooting. Gilgeous-Alexander did his typical funky and unorthodox moves on his drives with some pretty slow floaters. Sloaters? Maybe more importantly, he only played 22 minutes as he came into tonight’s game the NBA leader in total minutes this season.
Steven Adams had a nice double double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Adams performance might be lost in today’s game since everybody else had good games too but that shouldn’t be the case. Adams was able to hit some of his signature hook shots and dunks.
Hamidou Diallo was a bit more springy this game as he returned to his home state. Diallo was all over the floor and looked like his early season version of himself making his presence known. Diallo even made a rare three as he scored 12 points on 5-8 shooting.
Dennis Schroder had a pretty bad shooting night as he only scored 16 points on 5-16 shooting. Schroder had trouble finishing around the rim as some of his shots were altered by Knicks’ bigs like Mitchell Robinson.
Nerlens Noel had some impressive blocks and dunks all game long like he has had all season. Noel was all over the place defensively as he showed off his vertical leap with some crazy blocks he had in the post and finished some dangerous alley oops like they’re nothing. Noel finished with a loud eight points and three blocks.
Luguentz Dort only scored six points but was sound defensively. Today marks Dort’s 20th NBA start as a two way player. Every other two way player combined this season have only had 13 starts.
Overall, this was a great team win for the Thunder as they took care of business early on against an inferior team. We’ve become so accustomed to this with this team but it should never be taken for granted. OKC now gets ready to play in Boston Sunday afternoon.