How Chris Paul Did In His First Game As A Member Of The Thunder; What The Team Did That Hasn’t Been Done In More Than 30 Years – BlackSportsOnline
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How Chris Paul Did In His First Game As A Member Of The Thunder; What The Team Did That Hasn’t Been Done In More Than 30 Years

Fans of the Oklahoma City Thunder have grown accustom to knowing that whatever happens during the season, the team will be in the playoffs. After trading 3 of their 5 best players from last season, fans just wanted this years team to play hard and compete. That’s exactly what they got in last nights game vs. the Utah Jazz.

Although the game didn’t end in a win, the Thunder played hard and competed all game against a team is picked to be one of the top 4 teams in the west this season, which is much more than anyone expected.

The starters came out flat and early on it looked like it was going to be an ugly blowout. Luckily for fans, that didn’t last too long. After guys settled down, Chris Paul was Chris Paul and lead a comeback.

During the limited time he played during preseason, Paul didn’t look like he was going to have a good season at all. Last night he showed he still has a lot left in the tank.

One of the best things about Chris Paul is how well he controls the pace of the game. It doesn’t matter if he’s scoring or getting others involved, he can take control of the pace of a game and that’s what he did in the second quarter.

He was simply brilliant with the ball. Setting the tone on both ends of the floor, it looked like vintage Chris Paul. Once he set the tone, his teammates followed suit.

One guy who benefited from Paul’s great second quarter play was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. In the the teams annual Blue and White game, Shai was unstoppable getting to the rim but he was playing a scrimmage against his teammates so they weren’t exactly playing hard defense on him. Then he was again unstoppable in preseason but it was just preseason where guys don’t play that hard. Last night was the same thing, except this time, it was a real game against one of the best defensive teams in the NBA.

Setting a career high 26 points, Shai was spectacular and unstoppable. He continues to show flashes of being a future perineal allstar. Him and Paul have already figured out how to play off of each other and it will only get better.

The 3 main new guys for the Thunder, Paul, Shai, and Danilo Gallinari, all played very well in their debuts. With 26 from Shai, 22 from Paul, and 21 from Gallinari, it was the first time in more than 30 years that 3 guys scored 21+ points in their debut with a team. Hamidou Diallo added 12 but other than those 4, there was no contribution on offense from anyone else.

Steven Adams, who I projected to have a career year, struggled big time against the reigning defensive player of the year. Only converting on 1 of his 8 shots, Adams, Terrance Ferguson, and Dennis Schroeder were a combined 2-16 with 8 points.

For this team to be successful that can’t happen. Those are key players and that have to be able to contribute something on offense because it’s not often 3 guys score 20+ points in a game.

As long as they stay together, a lot of games will be like their first one. There will obviously be some bad games where no guy can buy a bucket and there will be some great games where no one can miss. For the most part though, it will be a team that plats good smart defense and doesn’t give up easily just because the other team may have more talent.

Flip the page to see highlights from the game.

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