Thunder 108 – Hawks 110 | Rapid Recap

Oklahoma City got off to one of its trademark slow starts as Atlanta roared to a double-digit lead midway through the first quarter. The Thunder fought back in an impressive second quarter taking a 5-point lead into halftime. Unfortunately, Oklahoma City came out sluggishly again in the third quarter, and Atlanta carried a 3-point lead into the final quarter. With just over four minutes left in the game, Oklahoma City led 104-98 only to see Atlanta go on an 10-2 run to take the lead 108-106. Russell Westbrook tied the game on the next possession, but the Hawks were not finished as Paul Millsap hit a shot with 12.7 seconds to go in the game. Russell Westbrook put up multiple shots, including a three with 1.9 seconds to go, but they were all misses. Steven Adams gathered the rebound and dunked the ball, but unfortunately it was just a second too late as the buzzer had already sounded. Oklahoma City fell 108-110 to Atlanta, and the Thunder fall to 16-12 on the season.

Aside from Westbrook, Offense Struggles

Russell Westbrook started off the game struggling to shoot the ball as he finished the first quarter 1/6 from the field. He picked up his game in the second quarter, and he dominated from that point forward as he finished 16/33 for 46 points. Westbrook was especially efficient from the free throw line shooting 11/13, and he also grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out 7 assists.

As for the rest of the offense, Russell did not get a lot of help from his teammates. Jerami Grant scored a career-high 15 points on 5/7 shooting including 3/3 from three, but nobody else really stood out.

Andre Roberson was the only other Thunder player who scored in double digits with 14 points, but he shot only 5/14 from the field. Enes Kanter did a solid job around the rim grabbing 7 rebounds, 4 of them on the offensive end which all led to put back shots, which is where he got his 8 points. The rest of the team struggled to hit wide open shots, and in turn, Atlanta double-teamed basically every entry pass into the paint, effectively shutting down the Thunder’s interior offense.

Thunder Defense Struggles Against Atlanta Small-Ball

About an hour before the game, it was announced that Dwight Howard, who was a game-time decision, would not be playing in tonight’s game. This sounded like good news to Thunder fans, and Steven Adams was primed to have a big game. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Atlanta does not have a true backup center that is currently healthy and capable of starting in place of Howard, so the Hawks decided to go with a small-ball unit by inserting Kyle Korver into the starting lineup as another forward alongside Thabo Sefalosha and sliding Paul Millsap into the center position. In doing this, the Hawks were able to move the ball extremely well, and specifically Millsap played well against a much bigger Steven Adams. Millsap finished with 30 points and 11 rebounds, and Dennis Schroder led the Hawks in scoring with 31 points to go with 8 assists and 5 rebounds.

Thunder Head to New Orleans

Oklahoma City heads out on the road for a two-game road trip stopping first in New Orleans to take on the Pelicans on Wednesday. The game will tip-off at 7:00 PM CST and will be televised on FSOK. It will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.

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


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