Official Box Score link
I thought it would be really funny to copy and paste the same exact game recap I wrote for the Thunder and Pelicans game from two nights ago.
The games had eerily similar beginnings, middles and endings, with almost the exact same score. Friday night’s game ended in a 109-104 Thunder win, and Sunday’s game ended in a 107-104 win.
The Thunder led early both games, then the teams see-sawed the lead back and forth, the Pelicans led in the fourth quarter, and OKC imposed their will on New Orleans’ youth down the stretch.
Steven Adams dominated the first few minutes of both games, disappeared for most of the rest of the games, then reappeared in the final few minutes to dominate once again and provide the dagger buckets.
SGA struggled with his shot both games but still provided a positive impact. Chris Paul provided a steady hand and hit big, clutch shots. And Dennis Schroder shot a lot of shots but scored a lot of points on both nights.
The biggest difference in the first game and the rematch was that Danilo Gallinari thunderstruck Abdel Nader. While Nader was the Thunder’s second leading scorer on Friday with 19 points (after leading the team in scoring the previous game with a career high 23), he managed only 4 points on Sunday. Meanwhile, Gallo caught fire and finished with 23 points on 14 shots, including 4 of 7 from the 3 point line. Those are Nader numbers.
Nearly a quarter of the way into the season, I think we can safely say the Thunder are better than the Pelicans and the Warriors. OKC is 6-0 against New Orleans and Golden State. They are 2-11 against the rest of the league.
The silver lining of these back to back wins for #TeamTank: the Thunder play non-Warriors/non-Pelicans teams in 61 of their next 63 games.
- This game was supposed to be a road game for the Thunder, but based on the crowd attendance in New Orleans, I think we can call this a neutral site.
- The Pelicans scored 104 points, one for each of their fans in attendance today.
- OKC won this game in a late three minute span in which they outscored the Pelicans 12-0. CP3 scored 7 points during the run. Paul has been very good this season, but especially so in the closing minutes of games.
- The Thunder opened the game on absolute NBA Jam boomshakalaka levels of fire. OKC started out 6 of 6 and scored 30 points in the first 8 minutes. They scored 26 points over the next 16 minutes.
- Future Thunder draft pick LaMelo Ball’s older brother didn’t play on Friday in OKC, but he hit an unlikely 4 of 8 from long distance for the Pelicans on Sunday.
- The Pelicans’ Nicolo Melli played 15 minutes and scored 6 points, and every time Chris Fisher called his name, I thought he was saying “Nelly.” So I had “Hot In Herre” stuck in my head during the entire game and afterwards while my family was setting up our Christmas tree and decorations. The lyrics are really awkward to sing around your toddler and newborn while you’re displaying your nativity scene.
- The Thunder outscored a team in the third quarter!
- Adams hit 5 straight free throws in the closing minutes before finally missing his sixth shot. Stephen Curry Adams’ response to it is classic Kiwi: ”My eyes were closed every time, mate. I was actually aiming for the top right corner of the backboard.”
- Ripley’s Believe It Or Not: the Thunder are now only a half game back of the #8 seed in the Western playoff picture.
- Up next: at the Pacers, the Timberwolves at home, and at the Blazers. The Thunder’s only two blow out losses this season were at Indiana and at Portland, so it will be fascinating to see how OKC performs in those two contests.