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Oklahoma City Thunder

Dennis Schröder Leads OKC to Sixth Straight Victory

Craig Hofeld

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The Thunder played their first night of a back-to-back Wednesday in Cleveland. The Cavaliers are the worst team in the NBA right now, but they came out ready to play. The Thunder had to battle a terrible shooting performance and a Cavs team that was resilient. In the end, OKC was able to secure the win with an 11-2 run to close the game.

Rapid Recap

The Thunder started the game with a few points off of turnovers. The contest became super ugly early on for both teams. There were a ton of turnovers and missed shots. Oklahoma City was able to fight through it and hold a 23-20 lead after the first quarter. This was largely due to Dennis Schröder who took matters into his own hands when no one else could hit a shot.

The inconsistencies on offense allowed Cleveland to hang around and stay in this game. The Cavs would’ve taken the lead early in the second quarter if it wasn’t for Hamidou Diallo. Diallo was excellent in transition and was all over the place on defense. The rookie has really made an impact during his minutes thus far into the season. The Thunder held on to a 48-40 lead at halftime.

Dennis Schröder once again got things going in the third quarter. Schröder had to carry the load on offense due to Paul George’s struggles tonight. Oklahoma City jumped out to a 16 point lead at one point of the quarter. However, after a shooting drought and lazy defense, the lead had completely depleted. The Thunder’s bench held on for the rest of the quarter which gave the Thunder a seven point lead heading into the fourth.

Oklahoma City only had 10 assists for the entire game. Only having that many assists makes it pretty difficult to hang onto a lead late in a game. Fortunately for the Thunder, a couple of those assists came late in the game which ultimately sealed the deal for OKC. The team went an 11-2 run to close out a 95-86 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

3 Quick Thoughts

• Alex Abrines Is A Situational Player: Alex Abrines is a very talented guy. His ability to knock down shots from outside opens up the Thunder offense so much.

That being said, at times he falls into a situational category with his sporadic shooting. When the guy is hitting shots, leave him on the court. However, if he’s not hitting those shots he really has no purpose on the court.

• Adams Needs More Looks: Steven Adams has been a monster this season. He’s averaging 14 points per game in just under an average of ten shots. Tonight, he only shot the ball six times. He made half of them and finished the game with 9 points.

The Thunder have to find a way to get Adams involved more often. I’d like to see him taking 10-15 shots per game. He’s a very high percentage shooter, and he draws so much attention from the defense. Perhaps feeding the ball inside more often would increase the amount of good looks from the outside for the Thunder.

• Defense Is The Key: The Thunder is not a good shooting team. They’ll have their nights when they can’t miss, but overall shooting is not the strong point of this team. It’s time to stop trying to become that kind of team.

Oklahoma City needs to focus on defense. While this team isn’t founded upon shooting, it is very much built to succeed on defense. When this team focuses on the defensive side of the ball, it creates opportunity on offense. Defense leads to offense, and until this squad figures that out they won’t reach their full potential.

Melo Returns To OKC

Carmelo Anthony will return to Oklahoma City Thursday night for the first time since joining the Houston Rockets during the off-season. It’s going to be pretty interesting to see how the crowd reacts. Considering the rivalry with Houston, I expect the crowd to be on edge all night.

The Thunder will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back. Hopefully this team won’t be plagued with tired legs. Houston is going to come out firing, and OKC needs to be ready to keep the same pace.

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