“You win as a team and you lose as a team.” That’s a saying that’s probably been around since the inception of team sports. That said. some players contribute more to a win, or loss, and yet others turn in surprising performances. Here’s how our players to watch fared in Oklahoma City’s 108-92 Loss.
In a pregame post we identified three players for the Thunder to keep an eye on. Two of them struggled from the floor and one was the Player of the Game for OKC. Here’s what we said pregame.
SF Paul George (27 PPG/2 RPG/5 APG/) – In the continued absence of Russell Westbrook the responsibility for establishing defensive intensity falls on George. He’ll also have to carry the weight of offensive production.
PG Dennis Schröder (21 PPG/8 RPG/6 APG) – Another benefactor of the Westbrook injury, Schröder will be making his second consecutive start at point guard. He was impressive in the opener and will look to keep the offense flowing. His six assists were a team high on Tuesday night, which should be expected again tonight.
C Steven Adams (17 PPG/11 RPG) – You can’t really place a value on OKC’s big man. He’s the enforcer on the defensive end of the floor and deceptively good on the offensive end. The DeAndre Jordan era is over in L.A. which means the Thunder should own the glass tonight.
How They Performed
George led OKC in scoring with 20 points but struggled on 7-of-27 shooting from the floor. He pulled down eight rebounds, dished four assists, and recorded two steals before fouling out with 1:13 remaining.
— NBA (@NBA) October 20, 2018
Schröder joined George on the poor shooting performance. Going just 2-of-15 from the floor, he finished the night with 8 points, two rebounds, and a team high, eight assists.
Steven Adams turned in a monster performance in the team’s losing effort. With a final stat line that read 17 points, 18 rebounds, and a block, he was clearly Oklahoma City’s top performer.
What We Missed
I certainly didn’t see Oklahoma City’s bench outscoring the starters in the first half. Their 25-21 advantage over the starters at the break was largely in part to Alex Abrines 10 points. Unfortunately he would be shutout in the second half.
Here’s what we said pregame about the Clippers.
PF Tobias Harris (19 PPG/10 RPG/1 APG) – Arriving from Detroit in the Blake Griffin trade, the expectation is for Harris to provide the same qualities on the floor that Griffin once did. The LA offense will move through him quite a bit, and he’s an inside/outside scorer who played 41 minutes in the opener.
SF Danilo Gallinari (16 PPG/8 RPG/1 APG) – The former New York first round pick shot 57% (4-of-7) from three-point range in Wednesday night’s season opener. He’s another inside/outside scorer for the Clippers who should draw a lot of defensive attention.
SG Lou Williams (14 PPG/1 RPG/5 APG) – It isn’t uncommon for Willams to be one of the top scorers on the team coming off the bench. He’s the offensive charge for the LA reserves and the entire purpose of acquiring him last season was to provide the type of spark that Jamal Crawford was once so famous for. That’s why he was last season’s Sixth Man of the Year winner, and it’s why he’ll be in the running again this season.
How They Performed
Tobias Harris tied for the lead among all scorers with 26 points. He also added ten rebounds and four assists in a very Blake Griffin like performance.
Danilo Gallinari is who Harris shared the tie with at 26 points. He paced the team in the first quarter and then landed some big baskets midway through the second half as well. Less impressive than Harris on the boards though with just five rebounds.
Lou Williams led the Clippers bench (just like we thought he would) with 17 points. Seven of those came on a perfect performance from the free throw line.
What We Missed
After his 18 point performance in the opener, against Denver, I though that Boban Marjanovic was just a novelty type player. I’m still not convinced that he isn’t but you can’t deny the impact he had on the game, particularly in the fourth quarter.