Oklahoma City Thunder

Thunder Ends Road Trip with Loss in Denver

Zachary Low

zacharylow88

The Oklahoma City Thunder (11-14) fell behind early in Colorado on Saturday night, and despite their best efforts to come back, they fell 110-102 to the Denver Nuggets (16-8).

Rapid Recap

  • 1Q: Denver led by 16 at one point, but OKC cut it to 7 to make the Nuggets lead 27-20.
  • 2Q: The Nuggets led 44-32 with 4:36 to go until halftime, but OKC finished the half on a 17-8 run to cut the deficit to 2, making it 52-49 at halftime with the Nuggets on top.
  • 3Q: The Thunder offense struggled heavily, and the Nuggets were able to retake their double-digit lead, putting them on top 82-68 headed into the fourth quarter.
  • 4Q: OKC trailed 102-88 with 4:35 to go in the game, and there was no coming back. The Nuggets finished strong to get the 110-102 win over the Thunder.

Defense Dictates the Game

Playing the 4th road game in 7 days can be tiring, even for professional athletes, but players have to show up every single night ready to go, or they get buried.

The Thunder opened up the game playing with incredibly low energy, and it cost them early on. Denver jumped out to a 16-point lead in the first quarter, taking advantage of OKC in transition.

The Thunder fought back somewhat in the final couple minutes of the opening period to cut the deficit to 7, and then after another letdown early in the second, OKC continued their efforts late in the second quarter to head into halftime down by just 2.

The Nuggets pushed their lead back to double digits in the third quarter, but that had more to do with the Thunder’s offense failing to put points on the board than it did Denver scoring at will.

Without a superstar who can score any time he wants on the roster, the Thunder has to be more creative on offensive end. This puts more pressure on the defense, which is fine considering how good OKC has been at holding opponents below their scoring averages.

If the Thunder is going to continue to improve as a whole and take steps toward the future, it has to start with the defense. Plenty of teams can score points, but not all of them can get stops.

Steven Adams is FINALLY Getting Some Love

For the last few seasons, the Thunder’s offense has been incredibly predictable. Russell Westbrook and Paul George scored a majority of the points while everyone else was essentially left to pick up the crumbs and hopefully contribute enough to give OKC a win.

With the offseason departures of both George and Westbrook, the expectation was that Steven Adams would become a focal point of the Thunder’s offense. That was not the case, at least not until recently, after Adams had a pretty rough start to the season, but finally, he appears to be getting the touches that he deserves.

Steven Adams has scored in double digits in 9 of the last 11 games, including tonight, after hitting at least 10 points in just 4 of his first 11 games played. He’s also hit 17+ points in 4 of the last 7 games, a mark that he hit 26 times a season ago.

The Thunder is offense is at its best when Steven Adams is a focus. Whether he’s dunking the ball down low or passing back out to a shooter, he is a key to OKC’s offensive success.

Finally Home

The Thunder is finally headed back to OKC after the longest road trip of the season. On Monday, the Thunder hosts the Chicago Bulls (10-18) who are fresh off a 109-106 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. The Bulls’ franchise has dealt with plenty of turmoil so far this season, and if OKC plays as well as they can, it could be an easy win.

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

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