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Oklahoma City Thunder

Strong Finish Lifts Thunder Over Magic

Zachary Low

zacharylow88

The Oklahoma City Thunder picked up a second consecutive win as they finished out strong Tuesday night to defeat the Orlando Magic 102-94.

The Rundown

The Thunder got off to a hot start shooting the ball, knocking down 5-of-8 (45.5%) from three and 12-for-23 (52.2%) overall. Danilo Gallinari led the Thunder with 8 points, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added in 7 as OKC had 9 different players score in the opening period. After one quarter of play, the Thunder led 31-26.

The Magic came out in the second quarter firing on all cylinders as a 13-3 run which started in the first quarter helped Orlando to take a 32-31 lead under 2 minutes into the period. Oklahoma City fought back, however, thanks largely to Steven Adams, who missed the previous two games with a left knee contusion. By halftime, Adams recorded 7 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block, and the Thunder held a 58-53 lead.

The second half opened with the Thunder expanding the lead a bit to go up 68-59 less than 3 minutes into the third quarter, but the Magic was able to answer, and for the last few minutes of the period, it was a one possession game. Entering the final frame of the night, OKC held an 81-79 lead.

Orlando did everything they could to stay in the game, and they even tied it up a couple of times, but the Thunder simply would not give in to the Magic. OKC finished strong with a number of clutch plays in the final couple of minutes, and the Thunder was able to come away with the 102-94 victory over the Magic.

Work on the Discipline

The Thunder had a number of opportunities to blow this game wide open, but a couple of key factors kept the Magic hanging around: offensive rebounds and free throws.

Oklahoma City allowed Orlando to grab 16 offensive rebounds, which led to 16 second-chance points. All things considered, the Magic could have done a lot more damage there, but still, the Thunder has to do a better job on the glass.

The other area that lacked discipline for OKC was sending Orlando to the free throw line. The Magic finished 27-of-31 (87.1%) from the charity stripe, and until a surge of free throws at the end for the Thunder, Orlando had double the attempts of OKC.

The Thunder is a young team, so a lack of discipline is going to be an issue at times. The best thing for OKC to do after a game like this is to celebrate the win, but take a look at the little improvements that can be made moving forward.

By the Numbers

  • 9: The number of turnovers for the Thunder—a season low—and the number of steals for the Thunder—a season high.
  • 21: The number of assists for the Thunder, making it the 4th time in the last 5 games that OKC has recorded at least 20 assists.
  • 3: The number of times this season that the Thunder has held an opponent to under 100 points, including tonight.
  • 12: The number of threes that the Thunder hit tonight, making it the 5th time so far this season that OKC has hit 10+ threes.

Thunder Player of the Game

Tonight’s win was a complete team effort, but Steven Adams earned Thunder Player of the Game honors due to his solid play after missing the previous 3 games.

Adams was at the center of a number of highlights tonight as he finished the game with 11 points on 5-of-7 (71.4%) from the floor to go along with 11 rebounds, 3 assists, and a block in just 26 minutes.

Steven was incredibly inefficient to start the season, and part of that was likely due to dealing with the left knee contusion injury, but if he can move forward with performances like tonight, the Thunder will continue to be able to get it done on both ends of the floor.

Sliding Down to San Antonio

The Thunder is now headed to San Antonio, Texas, where they will take on the Spurs for the first of 3 matchups this season. The Spurs (4-3) started off the season 3-0, but they have lost 3 of their last 4. Picking up a win on the road would be huge for the Thunder.

Tip-off is set for 7:30 PM CDT, and the game will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. It will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.

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 Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, and Stitcher.

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