Hawks Soar as Thunder Defense Crumbles

By Connor MacKenzie @grandepadre94

Lets face it, the Thunder should not have dropped this game. The Thunder have been on a rollercoaster the last 10 games (5-5), and their defense has suffered greatly. One could argue they need Andre Roberson back as soon as possible, and that is valid, however they have been top 5 defensively all season up until this point. 

 

The Hawks were down 29-25 at the end of 1st, but then smacked the Thunder in the 2nd for 45 points to go up 70-59 at half. They shot 62 percent from the floor and 50 percent from 3 (18 makes) for the game. Oklahoma City had a surge in the 3rd Quarter with timely turnovers, Westbrook (31 points) attacking, and Dennis Schroder (21) playing exceptionally well against his former team. In spite of the hot shooting from Atlanta, the Thunder rallied to lead 100-97 heading into the 4th. However, the levy that was the Thunder defense finally broke. 

 

Countless dunks, layups,and wide open 3s eventually sealed the deal for the Thunder. They were able to pull with 9 with just over 2 minutes left to play after Paul George (24 points, 8 rebounds) hits a transition 3, but Atlanta continued to pound Oklahoma City with their double pick n’ roll. 

 

Jerami Grant was again sensational with 21 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks and 3 steals on 9/14 shooting.

 

Adams was 6-6 shooting for 16 points and 7 rebounds.

 

Trae Young had a fantastic game chipping in 24 points, 11 assists and 6 rebounds. The Rookie from Oklahoma is having a great season and is making the case for Rookie of the Year. John Collins, another young player for the Hawks is a force to be reckoned with in the NBA. He contributed 26 points on 12-14 shooting (many dunks). 

 

The Thunder bench played with great hustle and energy, however only totaled 30 points, 7 assists, and 11 rebounds. Alex Len off the bench had 24 points, 3 assists and 11 rebounds by himself. 

 

What once was a staple for the Thunder, has now become a bit of an afterthought. Rebounding and getting stops has been the bread and butter of Oklahoma City, but for some reason there has not been a string of stops, particularly in the 4th Quarter. 

 

The schedule is only getting tougher throughout this season, and the Thunder must respond quickly. The Lakers come to town Thursday night, but regardless of who suits up in opposition, the Thunder must get back to their identity before things get out of hand. 

 

 

CONNOR’S CRUSHING COMMENTS: 

 

This loss was absolutely inexcusable. I give the Atlanta Hawks ZERO credit. ZERO! The Thunder played lazy on the defensive side for 3 quarters, yet somehow still lead the game with a chance to win. But they give up 5 or 6 dunks, take numerous shots behind the arc and are curious why they lost. They switch everything in the pick n’ roll and leave Adams or Patterson to guard Trae Young, or Dennis Schroder to guard a 7 footer. So you have your best rebounder 30 feet from the basket and your worst/smallest rebounder against a center? That is not a recipe for success. he Thunder deserved to lose this game based on overall team effort. Russell Westbrook and Jerami Grant cannot be the only guys to showup on both sides of the ball. Everyone has to buy in and commit to get stops first. Well see which team shows up against LA Thursday. Lastly, how many more games is Adams going to have to shoot 100% from the field and not get an entry pass after the 2nd Quarte

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