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Oklahoma City Thunder

Thunder Heats Up On Frigid Night In OKC

Craig Hofeld

bustersbest09

Game #13 - Suns - Recap Stats

The Thunder came into Monday night’s game against the Phoenix Suns looking for a bounce back win after Saturday’s loss to Dallas. OKC started out the game hot, looking to finish Phoenix early. However, the Suns were able to hang around long enough to make a comeback early in the fourth quarter. The Thunder stepped up and put the Suns away for good to close out the game, improving their record to 8-5.

Rapid Recap

Oklahoma City got off to a fantastic start tonight in their bounce-back game against the Mavericks. Oklahoma City went on a 22-0 run before Dallas finally answered with a basket. The Thunder shot an outstanding 4/6 from beyond the arc. That’s quite impressive for a team that has struggled from deep this season.

The Thunder continued to press heavily on defense in the second quarter. The team continued to shoot well from beyond the arc, but they also found other ways to score. Rookie Hamidou Diallo had success driving to the basket. Diallo does such a great job at bringing energy off the bench. The Thunder never let off the gas and took a big lead into halftime.

Paul George was hitting shots for the entire first half, and he kept things going to open up the third quarter. Unfortunately for OKC, Phoenix started heating up as well. The success on offense led to more effort on defense for the Suns. The defense of Phoenix caused all kinds of problems for OKC. The points on offense for the Thunder became fewer, while the Suns continued to score.

The Suns push continued into the fourth quarter. At one point, Phoenix was within 8 points of the lead. That is not at all acceptable with the talent level that Oklahoma City has. A lead as large as the one held tonight should never get taken away. Fortunately, Oklahoma City was able to bounce back and take control of the game in the final minutes for a solid victory over Phoenix.

3 Quick Thoughts

• Put Them Away Early! 

The Thunder jumped out to an early lead tonight. They also extended that early lead to a 22-0 run. At this point, the Thunder should have closed out the game.

Hear me out, I know the NBA is a game of runs. Against a top team in the West, no lead is safe. However, this is the Suns we are talking about! I would love for this team to jump out to an early lead and then put the game away. There’s no need to let a team like Phoenix make it a single digit game in the fourth quarter after you’ve held a near 30 point lead.

• OKC Needs More Of Paul George. 

Paul George had possibly his best game of the season tonight. It seemed like he couldn’t miss anything! Not only that, but his defense was phenomenal. For George, the defense is standard. You know for a fact you’re going to get great defense from him every night. It’s on the offensive end where the Thunder need PG to hit down shots like we know he is capable of.

• Winning Is Easy When You Make Shots. 

This may sound like an obvious statement, but when you make your shots you tend to win games. Oklahoma City has one of the best defenses in the league. However, they have five losses on their record because the offense has been sporadic this season.

You can have all the defense you want in this league, but you still have to have an offense. This is the NBA, where guys can score the basketball. No matter how good your defense is, guys are still gonna score points. That’s why you have to have an offense that hits shots as well. If OKC can play at this level on offense all season, it’s going to be a great year for Thunder fans.

Thunder Player Of The Game 

Paul George had an amazing shooting night for OKC, that’s why he is my player of the game. George went 11-19 for 32 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. For Thunder fans, it’s refreshing to see George have this kind of game. He has struggled to hit shots this season, which has caused the Thunder to struggle. OKC needs the Paul George we saw tonight.

Staying Home

The Thunder will be home for one more game on Wednesday night before heading out on a long road trip. They’ll take on the New York Knicks at 7:00 PM CST. The game will be televised on FSOK. It will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.

A win at home against an eastern conference team would be huge for OKC before they head on this road trip. Not only to start a new winning streak, but to be able to hit the road with some momentum. This game will no doubt be an interesting one. It’s always fun when Enes Kanter comes to town.

Be sure to follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook, and don’t forget to check out our latest episode of Thunder Things with the Thunder Guys on Facebook. 

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