Paul George Leads a Ferocious ComeBack, Thunder Win In Brooklyn: Five Thoughts
By: Alberto Bodei, Staff Writer
Last night, the Oklahoma City Thunder after defeated the Brooklyn Nets thanks to an outstanding Paul George’s performance, 114-112 the final score.
It looked like the classic game where the Thunder can’t hit a shot on offense and this effects their defensive focus. Yesterday, it looked this way for three full quarters. After a balanced first twelve minutes, 26-24 in Brooklyn’s favor, the Thunder went away from the things which worked on previous games on both ends of the floor and found themselves trailing by sixteen points entering halftime, 62-46.
Things didn’t turn up better in the third quarter, because the Nets kept on scoring and even gain a twenty-five points lead with four minutes left to play in the quarter. Oklahoma City was able to cut the disadvantage to eighteen points to start the last twelve minutes. Then, Paul George happened. The Thunder’s All-Star scored 25 points in the fourth quarter, he outscored by himself the Nets 25-19, but it was thanks to an overall team effort that Oklahoma City was able to come back into the game. Stop after stop, and basket after basket, the Thunder found themselves down one point with 8.1 seconds to go. Billy Donovan drew up a solid play during the timeout: ball to Westbrook, fake the drive, double team, Paul George open from behind the arc, three points, game: 114-112.
Paul George, unstoppable
Paul George entered the fourth quarter with a little less than nine minutes left in the game. At that point, the Thunder were trailing by seventeen points, and the game seemed out of hands for Oklahoma City. Then, Paul George caught fire, and Brooklyn didn’t have an answer to stop him. He scored twenty-five points in the fourth quarter only, while outscoring the full Nets team by six points, and hit the game-winner three-pointer with three seconds left in the game. Paul George finished with a total of forty-seven points (15-27 FG, 6-13 3PT, 11-14 FT), fifteen rebounds (three on offense), four assists, one block, and two turnovers.
Russell Westbrook, all around
After last night Russell Westbrook is now third in NBA history in total triple-double: 108. Yesterday he finished with twenty-one points (9-23 FG, 2-9 3PT, 1-2 FT), fifteen rebounds, seventeen assists, one steal, and only two turnovers. What’s maybe most impressive, and showed some growth, it’s the fact that Westbrook took only two shots in the fourth quarter and let a hot Paul George take care of the business. Westbrook didn’t take the last shot either, he took the best decision and pass the ball to George for the game-winner.
Twenty-three points down and sixteen minutes left to play. Most of the teams, or also simply last year’s Thunder, would have given up. Not this team, not this season. After completing a huge comeback against the Hornets in November, and almost other two, against Kings and Nuggets, last night, Oklahoma City added another historical night to this young season. Paul George led the Thunder in scoring, while the whole team’s effort on defense made the result happened.
Bench, not enough
Beside Dennis Schröder, and a little contribution from Nerlens Noel, Oklahoma City’s bench has been bad once again. Abrines has many ups and downs, yesterday was definitely a down, but he can always be a threat while Patterson is having a really bad season on both ends of the floor. After an awful first half (0-3 FG, 0-1 3PT, 1 foul, -11 +/- in seven minutes), Patterson didn’t even play in the second. Diallo and Burton played nine minutes combined, two rookies, not much to expect.
After starting the season 0-4, the Thunder have won sixteen of their last nineteen games. They are beating the teams they are supposed to beat (13-0 against teams under .500), and they are trusting Billy Donovan’s system. We passed the first quart of this regular season, and even if it’s only December, this team looks scary, and capable to make some real damage in a packed Western Conference. The Thunder never give up and compete in every game. This team has his leader mentality, a winning mentality.
The Thunder will play on Friday night in Chicago against the Bulls. Tip-off 7 pm CT
Photo provided by Nathaniel S. butler/NBAE via Getty Images.