The sixth man made the difference for the Thunder on Sunday night.
Oklahoma City’s outlook was less than bleak to being the game. The Thunder were down by double digits through the first few minutes of the game. Oklahoma City got into a rhythm, which made Quin Snyder call a frustrated timeout.
(Quick Side Note – Quin Snyder has an OSU connection. He coached for Mizzou, and coached the game right after the fatal OSU basketball plane crash).
Oklahoma City played their best basketball after their early struggles. The Thunder took a six point lead into the locker room.
Late in the third quarter, OKC had their first double digit lead. It was all uphill from there.
Thunder players had no problem making shots while they were unbalanced, uncomfortable, facing a double team, or any other situation for that matter. The Thunder have had their biggest win when they make those kind of shots. Skip Bayless made the bold prediction that the Thunder will beat the 76ers in the NBA Finals. If the Thunder play the basketball they played vs. Houston just a few games ago, and the basketball they played in their wins over Golden State, they should have no problem to get to the finals. Don’t hold your breath though. If the playoffs reflect OKC’s season, they won’t play those kind of games every night.
Paul George led the way for the Thunder with 36 points, 13/20 from the field, and 8/11 from three.
FINAL – OKLAHOMA CITY 116 UTAH 108
UP NEXT – Game two of the series will be Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. in Chesapeake Arena. The game will be televised, regionally, on Fox Sports Oklahoma.
OTHER NOTES – First, if I may divulge in to my sports media nerdisms. Matt Pinto handled the television duties while Brian Davis was on a one game suspension. He was excellent. Matt Pinto’s style on radio is extremely technical, and high paced. There is never a second of dead air, and he works with no color commentator on his radio broadcasts. However, on TV, he was wonderful. He gave enough details for the radio listeners, as the telecast was simulcast to the Thunder Radio Network, but enough breathing room for the television viewers. He and Michael Cage had a natural chemistry. I would not be opposed to Matt Pinto taking over the television duties full time.
Second, the Thunder MUST win their home games to go deep in the playoffs. If the regular season is indicative of anything, the Thunder will have plenty of poor performances. Home games should be able to compensate for that, assuming the Thunder play good games on the road.
“Great atmosphere, the fans were amazing … we need them.” – Carmelo Anthony
Photo via Getty Images
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