The Thunder got off to a slow start Tuesday night against the Hawks. The slow pace and lack of intensity kind of became a theme for the entire first quarter. Free throws were pretty much the story of the quarter, as OKC shot 15 of them. Without the luck from the free throw line, OKC would have most likely trailed after the first quarter. Instead, they held a 29-25 lead thanks to the 11 made free throws.
Oklahoma City really struggled from the floor in the second quarter. The lack of offensive production managed to take a toll on the Thunder’s defense. The Hawks are 29th in the league in offense, and they scored 45 points on OKC in the second quarter. The Hawks were pretty much doing whatever they wanted to, and having success. Atlanta held a 70-59 lead at halftime.
The third quarter was quite impressive from the Thunder, and much needed. The Thunder outscored the Hawks by 14 and put up 41 in the quarter. The Thunder’s defense was brought back to life, and the shots were falling for the offense. The burst of offense mainly came from Russell Westbrook who recorded 12 points. After three quarters, the Thunder held a 100-97 lead.
Stop. Pop. @russwest44 leads the way.— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 16, 2019
I’m not sure if the Thunder let off of the gas in the final quarter after taking a lead, or if the Hawks were just having a good night. In my opinion, the Hawks wanted it more. The Thunder looked lazy, and kind of just went through the motions in the final twelve minutes. Atlanta started hitting a ton of shots from outside, and before the thunder had time to react the lead was out of reach. Atlanta walked through Oklahoma City 142-126.
Final from Atlanta. 126-142.— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 16, 2019
Thunder Player of the Game
Russell Westbrook earns the honors for player of the game with 31 points, 11 assists, and 6 rebounds. The Thunder came up short tonight, but the only reason OKC ever regained the lead in the second half was due to the play of Westbrook.
A Couple of Thoughts
- Stay True To Your Identity!
The Thunder aren’t known for their ability to light up a scoreboard. They are known for their defense, which has the best rating in the NBA. It’s important for this team to stay true to their defensive ways to win games.
The Thunder are not going to outshoot other teams. They might have their nights, but overall that is not who this team is. If the Thunder can’t find ways to come out and play defense every night, it’s going to be a long second half of the season. OKC has been in a slump recently, going 5-7 in their last 12. In order to get back to winning, defense has to be the foundation.
Defense was to blame for this loss tonight, but a large part of the defense struggling is a lack of effort. It seemed at many different times that Hawks were simply out hustling the Thunder. On way too many occasions the Hawks were able to get straight to the rim, or they were wide open on the perimeter. Sometimes, you have to suck it up and show some effort. There’s no reason that Atlanta should’ve embarrassed OKC like they did on Tuesday night.
The Thunder will be back in action on Thursday night as they take on the Lakers in OKC. The game will start at 8:30 PM CST. It will be televised on TNT and broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.
The Lakers will be without LeBron James, which means the Thunder will be the far more experienced team Thursday night. It’ll be key for OKC to come out strong early and not let the Lakers hang around.
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, YouTube, or TalkShoe.