Oklahoma City Has Rough Shooting Night and Allows Utah to Even the Series

The Thunder got into a hole early on in this one, but bounced back to even the playing field before the end of the first quarter. Utah dominated the glass throughout the first half which led to a ton of second chance points. Oklahoma City went on a run in the third, but unfortunately Utah had an answer. After a fourth quarter to forget for the Thunder’s “Big 3”, Utah coasted to a win to even out the series 1-1.

The Thunder got off to a similar start in game two as the first one against Utah. The Jazz jumped out to a 9-0 lead before the Thunder went on a run of their own to tie the game. The Jazz were determined to not let Paul George score, which allowed opportunities for Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony. Russell Westbrook was scoring at will, but the teams four turnovers early in the quarter wasn’t allowing the Thunder to take the lead. The team didn’t have many assists in the quarter, but they did shoot 3/5 from beyond the arc. The deep ball shooting is the only thing that kept Oklahoma City in the game early on.

”Playoff P” came to life in the beginning of the second quarter, which allowed OKC a chance to get back into this game. However, Steven Adams had to receive extended rest due to his foul trouble and the team couldn’t figure out how to rebound without him. The Jazz racked up second chance points with Adams on the bench. Utah held the slight advantage heading into halftime due to the poor shooting of the Thunder and the lack of rebounds with Adams on the bench. Oklahoma City was on 16/41 from the floor for 39%, but the 7/16 for 44% from beyond the arc kept them in the game.

Russell Westbrook kicked it into overdrive in the third quarter which led to scoring opportunities for his teammates. The Thunder were absolutely killing it and went on a 19-0 run. The Thunder turned to defense which led to offense. However, the Jazz responded with their own 18-3 run which completely destroyed everything the Thunder had worked for.

Donovan Mitchell took over in the fourth quarter for Utah. Paul George tried switching up on him, but the Thunder simply had no answer. On the other end of the floor, the Thunder’s “Big 3” went 0-14 in the quarter. It doesn’t matter who this team is playing, if the core of this team can’t score, the Thunder won’t win. There were tons of questionable calls by the officials late in the game, but that is not the reason why this team lost. Poor shooting and poor shot selection ultimately led to the Jazz evening up this playoff series.

3 Quick Thoughts 

  • OKC Must Find A Way to Rebound Without Steven Adams. 

Steven Adams had to rest more than usual tonight due to his right arm/hand injury and due to foul trouble. During this time the Thunder couldn’t figure out how to rebound. The Jazz were killing Oklahoma City on offensive rebounds. If this team can’t figure out how to rebound without Adams, this could be a long series for the Thunder.

  • ISO Basketball Isn’t Always The Answer. 

After a great shooting performance in game one, the Thunder turned to isolation basketball in game two. However, the shots simply weren’t falling. Oklahoma City made the necessary adjustments, but went right back to “iso” offense when things got rough.

If isolation offense isn’t working in the first half, it’s certainly not gonna work in the second. This team has to find a way to score while moving the ball around. If the thunder try to rely on isolation basketball, this series might as well end now.

  • Blame the Team, Don’t Blame Melo. 

Carmelo Anthony has caught a lot of the blame for the Thunder’s struggles this season. There have been times to blame Melo, but tonight is not one of them.

The “Big 3” for Oklahoma City was 0-14 tonight in the final quarter. This was a collective loss. Win as a team, and lose as a team. The good news is that these guys aren’t going to go for 0-14 in the final quarter again. There’s no need to panic thunder fans, we still have a long series ahead of us.

Game 3 

The third game of this series against the Utah Jazz will be on Saturday in Salt Lake City. The game will start at 9:00 PM CST. It will be televised on FSOK and ESPN. The game will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.

Considering the next two games are in Utah, winning one of the two would be huge for Oklahoma City in this series. Look for the Thunder to come out focused on defense Saturday night. Offense was a struggle for OKC tonight, and focusing on defense will lead to easier opportunities on offense.

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

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