Coming into tonights game the Thunder needed a win in the worst way possible. The Thunder held a private players only meeting to work on things and try to gain that understanding/chemistry. The meeting defintely had to work because the Thunder came out looking like a team that desperately needed a win and badly. OKC came out clicking on all cylinders and the Big 3 were able to be very aggressive on the perimeter with Patrick Beverley and Danilo Gallinari out. Paul George was on another level tonight as he was able to get into ryhtym very early in the game and looked extremely comfotable. This is the Paul George that everyone had been waiting for in Oklahoma City. When Paul George is attacking and hitting his jumper the other team is defintely in trouble.
This is the first time all season the Thunder had a player reach 40 points or more and PG put the team on his back defensively and offensively. You can tell that PG was feeling it and all of the Big 3 know if one person is on fire to keep feeding him. This Thunder team has gone through some growing pains and they seemed to be patched up pretty quick against the Clippers. In order for this Thunder team to flourish the way everyone knows they can they will have to continue to play at this elite level on both ends. OKC’s Big 3 combined for 78 points on the night and they were able to get others involved off of their momentum.
Dakari Johnson started in place of Steven Adams and played one hell of a game. The rookie went up against DeAndre Jordan in his first career start and didn’t back down at all. Johnson had 9 points, 2 assists, and 1 rebound in the win. It was good to see Dakari being aggressive and taking care of the paint on both ends. Late in the game Dakari hit a couple of clutch free throws and a dagger like jumper from Russell Westbrooks smooth pass. Overall the team was able to maintain the momentum in the game even when it felt like it was getting close in the late stages of the game.
OKC was able to contain everyone else on the Clippers and they forced Lou Williams to try and beat them. Lou had 35 points for the Clippers but no one else on their team was able to help or add in more than 20 points. The Thunder did a great job of defending Blake Griffin as they held him to 17 points and didn’t let him bully them in the paint. Carmelo Anthony was guarding Blake on the evening and was making everything tough for him. What did come easy was the Thunder knowing that Alex Abrines had his game rolling tonight as they fed him the ball in his spot as he added 14 points. If the Thunder bench can compete with other teams benches they should be in the driver seat for every single game that they play. The Big 3 can score and defend with the best of them and will try to keep that going as they have the Dallas Mavericks coming into town on Sunday.