The Oklahoma City Thunder (35-22) has not suffered very many losses that would be categorized as “brutal.” Of the 22 losses, only 11 of them have been by 8 or more points, and of those 11, two of them have been at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs (24-32).
Just 12 days after losing to the Spurs 114-106 at home, the Thunder came out on Sunday evening having made the necessary adjustments to flip the script and slap San Antonio 131-103 for the biggest win over the Spurs in franchise history.
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The Thunder has played team basketball at its finest for much of the season, and tonight was another beautiful display of that. For the first time in OKC franchise history, the Thunder had eight different players finish with double-digit scoring.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led OKC with 22 points, followed by Steven Adams with 21 points, Luguentz Dort with 15 points, Dennis Schröder with 13 points, Danilo Gallinari and Chris Paul with 12 points, and Nerlens Noel and Abdel Nader with 10 points.
While a number of teams, including the Thunder, have at least a player or two who are capable of big individual scoring nights, but not very many teams have a whole crew of players who are able to contribute. Come time for playoffs, these types of well-rounded performances will be what makes OKC dangerous.
Shutting Down LMA
For years, LaMarcus Aldridge has been a Thunder killer. In his career, Aldridge has scored 30+ points 94 times, and 8 of those have come against OKC, including a career-high 56 points on January 10, 2019.
The reason for Aldridge’s success against OKC has typically been because of a matchup problem. LMA is a unique player, and the Thunder has struggled to defend him because of that.
Tonight, however, Aldridge was held to just 8 points on 3-of-10 (30.0%) from the field, marking just the fourth time ever that OKC has held him to single digits. He ended up only playing 21 minutes, likely because OKC blew the game wide open in the third quarter, but this will still go down as a remarkable defensive performance for the Thunder.
Headed to the Windy City
Next up for the Thunder is a road trip to Chicago to take on the Bulls (20-38) on Tuesday. The Bulls are fresh off a 126-117 home victory over the Washington Wizards, which snapped an 8-game losing streak.
The last time these two teams met, the Thunder edged the Bulls for a 109-106 win, but with the way OKC has been playing lately, they could leave Chicago with another big victory.
Tip-off for that game is at 7 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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