The Oklahoma City Thunder (24-19) got back on the right track with a 119-109 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers (18-26) on Saturday night. After a close 4 minutes of basketball to start the game, the Thunder was able to open it up a little, and while Portland was able to make it close at times, OKC was in control from nearly start to finish.
Deonte and Dort Making an Impact
On a night that featured several regular rotational guys sitting out, Deonte Burton and Luguentz Dort both came in to play extra minutes, and they made the most of their time on the floor.
Burton finished the night with 9 points and 3 rebounds, and Dort, who is still on a two-way contract, added in 7 points, 2 assists, and 2 steals. While neither stat line is particularly eye-popping, both guys are the type of player to inject energy into the game as soon as they step on the court.
Deonte Burton has had an interesting run this season, but nights like this are going to keep him in the back of Billy Donovan’s mind. Luguentz Dort, on the other hand, is still working on earning a full contract, and if he continues playing to play like this when opportunities arise, he is basically guaranteed a spot.
CP3 Keeps Turning Back the Clock
Despite playing in his 15th season in the NBA, Chris Paul continues to wow as he led the Thunder with 30 points on 11-of-15 (73.3%) from the floor, including 3-of-5 (60.0%) from three, and 5-of-5 (100.0%) from the free throw line.
Perhaps the most underrated facet of Paul’s stat line was his ability to score early and often, which has been difficult for OKC lately. His 12 points in the first quarter paced the Thunder to a lead that they did not relinquish.
On top of his scoring, Paul added 7 assists and 4 rebounds with only 1 turnover. His impressive stats so far this season have been made all the more impressive by his ability to do it at such an efficient level.
Matinee on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
The Thunder is now headed out on the road to take on the Houston Rockets (26-15) on Monday for a special afternoon tip-off. The Thunder has split with the Rockets so far this season (1-0 at home, 0-1 on the road), but after a close game in the first matchup in Houston, the Thunder managed to blow the Rockets out in OKC in Russell Westbrook’s return.
Tip-off for that game is at 4 PM, and it will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. It will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.
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