The Jazz shot well from beyond the arc for the entire game, but it all got started in the first quarter. While Utah was knocking down shots from outside, Oklahoma City relied on the free throw line to get the scoring going. Although the shots weren’t falling for the Thunder, you’ve gotta credit the team for finding a way to put points on the board. The Thunder’s Big 3 wasn’t playing well, but other guys were finding ways to get involved. The Jazz led 28-19 after the first quarter.
The Jazz continued to shoot well from beyond the arc to start the second quarter, largely due to Joe Ingles. It seemed like the Thunder had no answer to the Jazz when it came to offense. The Thunder still don’t have an identity on offense, which means they were once again inconsistent with their scoring. The team started off 0-6 from the floor until Russell Westbrook came in and made three shots in a row. Westbrook took over the quarter like he was playing in his MVP season from a year ago, but the Thunder still trailed 47-39 at halftime.
The second half got off a little shaky for OKC, as Utah expanded their lead to the largest of the game. Russell Westbrook continued to play well, while he seemingly kept his team in the game. The third quarter was the highest scoring quarter of the game. Steven Adams and Russell Westbrook had been leading the way through all three quarters, but it wasn’t enough to get them back into the game. The Thunder stayed down by double digits for the entire quarter.
Finally, in the fourth quarter the tides started to change. Oklahoma City started to get things going on offense with both Paul George and Carmelo Anthony knocking down shots. The solid defense of Andre Roberson was leading to fast break points on the other end. You could finally see this team playing up to their potential. The Thunder went on a 20-7 run which gave them a lead late in the game. Carmelo Anthony couldn’t seem to hit anything until the fourth quarter. He hit several clutch buckets towards the end of the game that led to a third straight victory for the Thunder.
3 Quick Thoughts
- The Thunder Must Find an Identity on Offense: Although the Thunder figured it out on offense down the stretch, this team is still struggling on offense. They have too much talent to be putting up 39 points in a half. Once this team figures out who they are gonna be on offense, things will begin to get rolling. Hopefully, this three game winning streak and specifically this final quarter will help this team figure things out.
- Carmelo Anthony Needs to Know When to Shoot: Carmelo Anthony had only taken 17 shots in the last two games. He said he was willing to shoot less if it means that the team would come out with a win. Tonight, he didn’t shoot very well until the fourth quarter. Most of his struggles came during the first half. He did an excellent job at sitting back while Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams took over. During that final stretch in the fourth, Melo took the shots that were given to him and knocked them down. If he can figure out when and when not to shoot, it may help this Thunder team figure things out on offense.
- This Team is on the Verge of Figuring it Out: I’m not coming out and saying this team has it all together now, but I’m certainly do think they are figuring it out. The defense is just as good as ever, if not better than it was to start the season. When it comes to the offense, it looks like they are finding some sort of a rhythm. Once this team figures out how to become more consistent on offense they are going to be extremely dangerous. With a couple of easy games coming up, this team certainly looks good riding that three game winning streak.
Heading To Mexico
The Thunder will be back in action on Thursday night as they head to Mexico City to take on the Brooklyn Nets. The game will tip-off a little later than normal at 9:00 PM CST due to the location of the game. The game will be televised on FSOK and it will be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.
Article written by Craig Hofeld. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.