The Thunder earned a much needed win tonight over the Phoenix Suns at home. The Peake was rocking and ready to see a victory from the home team. Oklahoma City has struggled lately, and many have began questioning if they will make the playoffs. The toughest kind of win this season is the easy ones against lesser opponents. However, the Thunder came up with a blowout win tonight to push their way back up the conference standings.
The Suns started out the game essentially dominating the Thunder in every category. It started to feel like another game that this team was going to let slip away. However, the Thunder responded with a 14-3 run. Oklahoma City was dominating the glass during this run, which was the major difference from the start of the game. The Suns quickly responded and caught up to Oklahoma City, giving the Thunder only a sleight advantage after the first quarter.
The Suns were once again the team to get things rolling at the beginning of the quarter. Although it was a close game, it kind of felt like both teams were out of control and taking what they could get. After a few stops on defense, the Thunder hit back to back shots from beyond the arc which gave them the lead. The entire starting lineup was scoring at will besides Paul George. PG13 (2-8 FG) was the only guy to struggle, yet the Thunder held a double-digit lead at halftime.
The Thunder welcomed a new player this week in Corey Brewer. Brewer was likely the reason why the Thunder opened up the second half to such a large lead. Corey Brewer brings a level of confidence that the Thunder has not had in the shooting guard position in a long time. He simply took over the quarter playing well on defense as well as knocking down shots from the outside on offense. The third quarter was great overall, besides Terrance Ferguson leaving the game due to a head injury. Steven Adams and Terrance Ferguson collided heads which sent Ferguson to the locker room for the remainder of the game. He is now in the NBA concussion protocol.
The fourth quarter was essentially garbage time, as both teams decided to rest certain players. Russell Westbrook sat out the entire quarter due to the Thunder not needing him. Paul George and Steven Adams played for a little bit, but it was mainly the bench for OKC that played out the fourth. Nick Collison came in and delivered several quality minutes. The Thunder blew out the Suns 115-87.
3 Quick Thoughts
- OKC Showed Signs of Improvement Tonight.
The Thunder have been on the struggle bus ever since the All-Star break. Although they have a winning record since then, even the wins have looked ugly. Oklahoma City needed a blow out win tonight to get back on track. Beating teams below .500 has been difficult all year for this Thunder team. However, tonight they came out and got the job done. It’s a huge sign of improvement that this team was able to get a quality win over a lesser opponent. If the Thunder can come out with the same intensity every night, they can gain some serious momentum before the post season.
- Russell Westbrook Leads the Way.
Russell Westbrook was phenomenal tonight. He did exactly what this team needed, and nothing more. He didn’t try to do too much, he just let the game come to him. That is when Russ plays at his highest level. He shot an outstanding 11/14 for 27 points. He also added 9 assists and 8 rebounds to his stat sheet.
Its no coincidence that the Thunder haven’t been playing well lately and neither has Westbrook. This team goes as he goes. His performance each night has a direct result for this team. Perhaps we will see more of this Russell Westbrook down the stretch of these final games.
- Corey Brewer is Looking Like a Huge Pickup for the Thunder.
When the Thunder added Corey Brewer earlier this week, I was super excited. Brewer brings veteran experience to this team that is much needed. He is also an excellent slasher to the goal, and can even hit the outside shot. Tonight, Brewer got the start for OKC. I knew he would start eventually, but I didn’t know it would be this soon. He recorded 17 points and 4 rebounds, and was arguably the player of the game. His performance in the third quarter is what won the game for the Thunder. It’s early, but it seems like Brewer will be huge for the Thunder heading into the final stage of the season.
Home Against the Spurs
The Thunder will be back in action again on Saturday night at 7:30 PM. The game will be televised on ABC, and it will be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM. The Spurs have been on the downfall lately, but they remain ahead of the Thunder in the Western Conference standings. A win on Saturday would help the Thunder push for a higher playoff seed.
Article written by Craig Hofeld. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.