Scott Brooks was back in town tonight as the Wizards came to OKC to face the Thunder. The leagues longest winning streak was on the line, and the Thunder kept it alive. Oklahoma City jumped out to a quick start, but Washington wasn’t going to go away very easily. The Wizards bounced back, but the Thunder ultimately pulled it out to win their sixth game in a row.
The Thunder jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead, which forced the Wizards to call an early timeout. Most of the early scoring was from Steven Adams who dominated the paint all night long. OKC scored 10 points before Washington finally got on the scoreboard. After jumping out to a quick start, the Wizards responded with a run of their own. The two teams traded baskets throughout the remainder of the quarter, but Paul George’s 5 points in the final seconds gave the Thunder a sleight advantage after the first quarter.
The Thunder opened the second quarter with another run. This time, it was the rookie Terrance Ferguson who recorded a quick 5 points right out of the gates. Oklahoma City came up with four turnovers in the opening minutes which lead to a 13-0 run. Finally, after 4:23 of gameplay passed by, Bradley Beal scored for the Wizards. After going on that huge run, the Thunder still outscored the Wizards 29-20 for the rest of the quarter. OKC was all over the place on defense, and didn’t allow anything easy for Washington. The Thunder shot 47% from the floor in the first half, compared to the Wizards 36%.
After the Thunder opened both quarters in the first half with huge runs, it was inevitable that the Wizards would go on a run of their own. They came out and hit back to back 3’s which led to a 17-7 run for the Wizards. However, Russ started battling back and brought the energy back to this Thunder team. The Wizards won the quarter by 6 points, but the resiliency of Russell Westbrook kept them from taking the lead away from the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s defense disapeared on the perimeter, which allowed Washington to shoot 5-9 from beyond the arc in the third quarter.
Terrance Ferguson came up huge for the Thunder in the final quarter. He hit a couple big shots at the beginning, and then knocked down a couple more later on. This quarter was without a doubt the most entertaining of the season. At times, it felt like the Thunder were holding on for dear life. No matter what OKC did, Washington had an answer and just wouldn’t go away.
The chemistry between Russell Westbrook and Paul George has been improving lately. However, it has never looked as good as it did during this fourth quarter. Westbrook was finding Paul George for easy looks on the offensive end, and Paul George was creating turnovers then dishing to Russ on the other end. Russell Westbrook took over the fourth with 21 points on 9-11 shooting. However, none of that is possible without the defense of Paul George. After enduring a shootout with Bradley Beal, the Thunder came out on top with a 121-112 victory.
3 Quick Thoughts
- There’s No Way Steven Adams Kicked Bradley Beal on Purpose.
During the third quarter Steven Adams was fouled and thrown to the ground. During his fall, his leg came up and hit Bradley Beal. The Wizards complained until the officials finally took a look. Upon review, they ruled that the motion was “unnatural” and gave Adams a technical foul.
I’m just saying, to be that accurate with a kick while falling to the ground Adams would have to be a ninja. In my opinion, this action was completely harmless and should’ve been a no-call. Watch the video below and decide for yourself.
- Raymond Felton is a Huge Part of this Teams Success.
During the end of the third quarter the Wizards were making a comeback. The score was within four points when Raymond Felton checked into the game. Only one game removed from his remarkable fourth quarter run that sparked the comeback for the Thunder, Felton hit back to back 3’s which gave the OKC a 10 point advantage.
Felton is such a huge part of this teams success. He does more than just score the basketball, he is a floor general. Billy Donovan knows that he has a guy he can rely on while Westbrook gets a breather. Having a guy like this is simply huge. Raymond Felton is making a case for the best back up point guard in the league.
- No Need to Sugar Coat It, This Team is Good!
The Thunder is currently in the 5th spot in the West. However, they are playing like the second or third best team in the conference. The National media is trying to sugar coat it, but no one is playing as good of basketball as the Thunder right now.
It seems like the chemistry is finally there between Paul George and Russell Westbrook. The pair not only look good on the court, but they are definitely having fun as well. When you combine that with the consistent play of Steven Adams it makes this team hard to beat. Not to mention, Carmelo Anthony has finally accepted his role, and the Thunder is thriving. It’s possible that this team could be peaking at the right time.
One Game Road Trip
The Thunder will go on the road for a single game in Detroit. After playing in Detroit, they will head back home to play the 76ers the next day. The game against the Pistons on Saturday will tip-off at 4:00 PM CST. It will be televised on FSOK and will be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM. This will be another chance for the Thunder to see where they stand against the Eastern Conference.
Article written by Craig Hofeld. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.