Thunder 111 – Pacers 115 | Rapid Recap

The Thunder lost a heartbreaker in overtime tonight 115-111 to the Indiana Pacers. The team got off to a slow start and struggled to be on the plus side of the scoreboard all night. Despite multiple struggles throughout this game, the Thunder showed no quit.

Oklahoma City bounced back from their slow start when they went on a 9-0 run at the end of the half to bring them within 4 points of the lead. However, more struggles were still to come. After a sloppy third quarter, they trailed the Pacers by 9. Russell Westbrook brought the team back with a valiant effort in the fourth to send the game to overtime. He recorded another triple-double tonight with 31-15-11, but it was not enough for the win in OT.

The Bench Has Big Night

The Thunder bench contributed more than their fair share on offense by outscoring the Pacer’s bench 45-22. I’m gonna go on a limb and say the Thunder will win a majority of the games where the bench produces 45 points. The impressive performance was led by Enes Kanter who had 16 points. Jerami Grant had a great night as well with 9 points on 3-3 shooting.

I was very impressed early on in this game by the amount of Thunder players that were contributing with scoring. As the game went on, it seemed like more and more guys kept getting involved. Unfortunately, the overall team defense could not do enough to allow the bench performance to pay off.

 This Team Doesn’t Quit

The one thing I’ve seen in every game this year is this team never gives up. Whether it’s getting blown out at Golden State, or losing these close games, the Thunder refuse to quit. This type of fight will be huge in future tight games this year.

This team has found their way to the win column several games so far because of the energy they bring all game. This is largely due to the passion that the teams leader Russell Westbrook plays with each night. The Thunder often find themselves riding on Westrook’s will to win.

The Overtime Struggle Is Real

Perhaps one of the most frustrating parts of the game was the lineup used in overtime. While the Thunder struggle to find offense at times, the cons definitely outweigh the pros when it comes to having a guy like Anthony Morrow on the court late in a tight game.

Billy Donovan tried to sub offense for defense and vice versa by swapping Morrow and Andre Roberson, but Morrow played what seemed to be a little too much in the fourth quarter and overtime. In his seven minutes of play, he shot 2/5, including 0/3 from behind the arc, which is supposed to be his specialty. Also, his defense is consistently inexcusable. On one key possession towards the end of the game, Morrow simply stood around while Indiana ran the fast break and scored in transition.

Billy Donovan has experimented with different lineups so far, understandably so, but overtime is not the best time to take a chance on a guy who has not lived up to his potential for quite some time now. When it comes down to it, Morrow simply does not get enough play time consistently to be able to come into a clutch situation and feel comfortable. Donovan needs to find some guys to play alongside Westbrook, Adams, and Oladipo to close out a game, or else this will be one of many frustrating games to come.

Up Next

The Thunder will start a three game road trip when they play at the LA Lakers on Tuesday night. The game will start at 9:30 PM CST and will be televised on FSOK. It will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1.

Article written by Craig Hofeld and Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram. 

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