With 6:48 left in the game and Oklahoma City up on the Bulls 79-78, the Thunder bench turned over the game over to the starters. Here they were, on the road in crunchtime against a very good defensive team. Possessions become gold and good shots the most valuable currency in basketball there is.
You know where I’m going with this.
It’s what we’re all curious about. At least I know I am. Without James Harden, a secondary ball-handler and creator to step in and run clean offense, how would the Thunder respond? Can they count on Russell Westbrook to get them into sound sets? Without that bail-out pick-and-roll option with Harden, what does the final five minutes of a tight game look like? Against the Spurs in this situation, the Thunder mostly failed. Westbrook attempted to engineer the offense and played recklessly, giving away good possessions with forced shots or silly decisions. Really, this was OKC’s second trial run in this situation.
This time, they passed with flying colors. How? That guy wearing No. 35 showed up. Keep Reading…