Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City Finishes Strong to Beat Portland In Tuesday Night Shootout

Craig Hofeld

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RAPID RECAP

The Thunder were able to take an early lead against Portland. However, Oklahoma City wasn’t rebounding nearly enough and was giving up too many fouls. This quickly became a problem as the Thunder held the Blazers to 36.8% on their first shot, but Portland was able to get offensive rebounds for second chance points. After seven first quarter fouls by the Thunder, and lots of back and forth, it was tied up 25-25 after twelve minutes.

The Blazers were able to outscore the Thunder in the paint early in the game, but this turned out to be okay as OKC shot extremely well from beyond the arc. Patrick Patterson was 2-2 in the second quarter, and the team was 7-13 overall from deep. Shooting nearly 53% for the quarter, the Thunder held a 62-55 lead at halftime.

Oklahoma City might have been out rebounded in this one, but they made up for it by having a 12-0 fast break advantage in the first three quarters. However, the Blazers were able to make up some ground due to CJ McCollum’s 21 points in the quarter. He was simply lighting up Terrance Ferguson. That being said, Ferguson was able to knock down some crazy shots of his own. The Thunder held on to a 93-87 lead heading into the final quarter.

The fourth quarter was very much a game of runs. Due to some early turnovers from the Blazers, the Thunder was able to open on an 8-2 run. But, much like the rest of the game, Portland answered with a 7-0 run of their own. In the final stretch, Paul George stepped up his defense, and Russell Westbrook threw down some crazy dunks to lead OKC to a 123-114 win.

THUNDER PLAYER OF THE GAME

Russell Westbrook is getting the honors for player of the game. Westbrook recorded 29 points, 14 assists, and 10 rebounds. In what was a solid shooting night, he also distributed the ball all over the court. I like the Thunder’s chances of winning when Russ has 14 assists.

This kind of performance is refreshing after seeing Russ struggle at times this season. Maybe this is the kind of game he needed to get things going. Hey, better late than never. This is the perfect time in the season for the Brodie to come alive.

A COUPLE OF THOUGHTS

•Terrance Ferguson Is Becoming A Reliable Threat On Offense.

Terrance Ferguson has been having quite a bit of success on the offensive side of the ball lately. As the season has progressed, we’ve seen him gain more and more confidence. The passive rookie from a season ago is now a guy who is confident enough to shoot the ball from anywhere.

Tonight, Ferguson recorded 14 points on 6-8 shooting from the floor. His main purpose on the court is to play defense. He has a great ability to guard multiple positions and he is an excellent rim protector. That being said, if he can become a reliable source of offense it would be huge for this team. The Thunder has always lacked a guy who can be a primary defender, but also score the basketball. Perhaps the Thunder are developing that kind of guy in Terrance Ferguson.

•Russell Westbrook Is Still Russell Westbrook.

Ladies and gentlemen, Russell Westbrook is still the same ball player. Many people have been doubting him lately, saying that his knee surgeries over the years have taken a tole on him. While I have no doubt it may have taken him a bit longer to recover this go around, I never thought Russ’ best basketball was in the past. I still think Westbrook is more than capable of being an MVP type player.

The Brodie put up some serious numbers tonight, as he has done all season long. The difference is, tonight he was able to shoot the ball efficiently. Russ is currently having the worst shooting season of his career. However, that does not mean he isn’t getting the job done in other areas. Let’s not forget the guy is still averaging a triple-double. If the Thunder can get more efficient shooting nights from Russ, this team will see a ton of wins as the season closes out.

PELICANS IN THE ‘PEAKE

The Thunder will be playing at home once again on Thursday night against the New Orleans Pelicans. The game will be televised on FSOK and broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00PM CST.

New Orleans is known to give the Thunder problems. However, Anthony Davis will not be active for the Pelicans on Thursday. This should give the Thunder a huge advantage in the paint. Typically, New Orleans has the advantage with Davis being so athletic and a dynamic center. This go around look for the Thunder to attack the paint.

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