Oklahoma City Thunder

Thunder 105 – Nuggets 111 | Rapid Recap

The Thunder Guys

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Oklahoma City got off to a rough start against Denver tonight in Oklahoma City for the final home game of the regular season. After crushing their playoff hopes earlier in the week on the road, Denver came out looking to end their season with a win. The slow start could be credited to the emotional and exciting start in which Russell Westbrook was recognized for his performance this season.

The Nuggets were hitting just about everything in the first quarter, while the Thunder struggled to knock down shots. Eventually, Russell Westbrook got the offense going and the Thunder took a lead heading into the second quarter. Things only got better in the second quarter, where just about everyone was knocking down shots. Oklahoma City was playing excellent team ball on both offense and defense, and expanded their lead to eight points at halftime.

The second half did not go well for the Thunder, as they scored only 41 combined points in the half. Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams did not play in the second half, and Victor Oladipo only played a few minutes of the third quarter. Even without the three main work horses, Oklahoma City stayed within range of the Nuggets. Josh Huestis and Jerami Grant stepped up and were huge contributors off the bench. The Thunder ended up finishing the game with five different guys in double digits, but it wasn’t enough to come up with the win. The team had a chance at the end to come up with the victory, but ultimately lost 111-105.

Game 82 Recap - Nuggets

Thunder Finds Some Depth

When the seeding in the playoffs were locked up for the Western Conference, the Thunder decided to rest a lot of the starting lineup and get some other guys significant playing time. This decision is a great one for many different reasons. For one, it prevents injuries to key players. The last two games didn’t really mean anything, so why risk an injury in an unnecessary game?

Secondly, it gives a lot of bench guys and younger talent the opportunity to get experience with playing more minutes than they’re used to. Regardless of the outcome of the game, I think the young guys handled the playing time very well. Josh Huestis played a great game in which he knocked down a three and had two monster dunks! Alex Abrines also played well, recording 11 points and 6 rebounds. He passed James Harden’s Thunder record tonight for three point shots made in a single season as a rookie. If Oklahoma City is in a position to play these young guys in the playoffs, they will certainly be ready.

Russell Westbrook Honored In OKC

There was a very special tribute in Oklahoma City tonight for Russell Westbrook. The “Big O”, Oscar Robertson was in attendance to recognize Westbrook on his accomplishments this season. The ceremony took place after team introductions and lasted for several minutes. After a video played throughout the arena, Robertson personally spoke about Russell Westbrook. When he finished his speech, he ended it by starting an “M-V-P” chant that echoed in the arena for several moments. Russell Westbrook is without a doubt the heart of this franchise. Tonight, he was shown exactly how much he means to this organization.

OKC Is Gonna Be Alright

Oklahoma City finished the season as the sixth seed in the Western Conference. If anything, we learned this season that the Thunder is gonna be alright. When the team lost an all-star this past summer, many people thought they had seen the last of Oklahoma City. However, Russell Westbrook had other plans in mind. The team definitely did better this year than many experts thought they would.

When Durant left, Oklahoma City was stuck in a tough position. The Thunder decided to build around Russell Westbrook, and they couldn’t have made a better decision. Westbrook led the way this season, and it seems like it will be that way for awhile. There were plenty of ups and downs throughout the year, which is always expected. However, with the recent success and team growth, Oklahoma City is primed to make a push in the playoffs.

Playoffs!

Next up for the Thunder is Game 1 of the 1st round of the playoffs on SundayĀ against the Rockets in Houston. Ā The Rockets won the regular season seriesĀ against the Thunder threeĀ games to one, but anything can happen in the playoffs. In each of the first three meetingsĀ during the season, the game was decided by no more than three points, so the series very well could be full of games that go down to the wire. Tip-off is set for 8 PM CST and will be televised on TNT. It will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.

Article written by Craig Hofeld. Follow @thethunderguys on Twitter and Instagram.Ā 

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