Oklahoma City – The Thunder ended their 3 game road trip tonight against the Lakers at Staples and looked to get their 2nd win of the season.
The first time they played the Lakers they got down by 26 and ended up coming back. To most people, the Thunder couldn’t do the same thing and win again. Especially on the road in LA when the Lakers would for sure want to win this game after the last time they saw each other.
Luckily the Thunder aren’t most people and did almost the exact same thing Thursday night on the road as they did last week at home. They didn’t get down by 26 again but did get down 19 and just like last week they fought back and were able to get their 2nd win of the season. Both against the Lakers.
Too bad they can’t play the Lakers every night but this was a great win for a young team and here are the things that went well.
1) PACE PACE PACE
For the 1st time all season it looked like the Thunder played with a very fast pace and it payed off. Maybe it was because they played the Lakers who play with the 2nd fastest pace in the league, maybe it was because they just wanted to play faster because they’re younger, or maybe it was a mix of both. Head coach Mark Daigneault says that he thinks it’s because the Lakers are bigger and you can’t play slow against bigger teams. Either way it worked. They had 23 fast break points which was the most they’ve had all season and it really could have been more. For the Thunder, this is one of the main ways to success for their offense.
2) Limited Paint Points
The Lakers are one of the bigger teams in the league and average the 2nd most points in the paint with 52.5 per game. They live there. Tonight they only had 36 points in the paint. The Thunder made sure that wasn’t were the Lakers were going to beat them. They cut off driving lanes and when the Lakers did get into the paint they made sure to make it tough on them which caused them to shoot 18-39 (46.2%) there. That might seem like it’s decent shooting but for those shots to be in the paint it’s not that good. Especially considering Anthony Davis is on the other team.
3) Stayed Cool, Calm, and Collected
The Thunder are the youngest team in the league and this is the 2nd time in a week that they have come back from being down big. That’s really impressive. Most young teams, when they get down, just give up and call it a night. Or they might back and end up making costly mistakes down the stretch to cause them to lose. Not the Thunder. They continue to show how poised they are throughout games and never get too high or too low. There were a few moments in the game on Thursday where they could have folded and didn’t. They just kept on hitting. They’re like a fighter that doesn’t know any better and is always one big hit away from getting a knockout.
The Thunder were led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who was again huge in the 4th and had 28 points and 6 assists. Lu Dort who hit 4 clutch free throws added 17 points while Darius Bazley added 14 points and 5 rebounds. Derrick Favors didn’t miss while contributing 10 points and 11 rebounds while Kenrich Williams added 13 points and 8 rebounds to go with Ty Jerome’s 14 points both off the bench.
The team will look to start a winning streak when they come back home on Sunday against the Spurs.
Flip the page to see highlights.