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Billy Donovan had no idea.
Chris Paul was completely clueless.
And nobody cared.
With 8:25 remaining on the clock and the Thunder boasting a 28 point lead over the Spurs, CP3 was 1 rebound short of a triple double when he was pulled from the game.
“That’s on Billy!” Paul quipped post game. “He won’t let me be great.”
On the contrary, Chris, the fact that your team has a complete lack of craps given about statistics and personal achievements is the biggest reason why they’re great. Well, that and Lu Dort, but I’ll save my embarrassing amount of Luguentz stanning for the game notes section.
CP3. Shai. Dort. Gallinari. Schroder. Adams. Noel. Nader.
Those names made Thunder history tonight. For the first time in 12 seasons, OKC had eight players score in double digits. It was the 16th time this year, and second in a row, that seven players scored in double digits, extending their team record.
After a decade plus of the national media, social media and good ‘ol Steve at Home Depot scrutinizing every Thunder offensive possession with condemning catchphrases like “stat padding” or “my turn, your turn” and “ball hog” or “too much iso”, the Thunder have completely changed identities. OKC is now a pass happy, ball sharing squad that hunts for the best shot on every trip down the court.
Coming into tonight, the Thunder’s three leading scorers were each separated by .1 points per game. SGA averaged 19.3, Gallo 19.2, Schroder 19.1. Their best player, Paul, is the fourth leading scorer. On any given night, any number of players could be high man on the scoring totem pole. As Kevin Martin once said of the Minnesota Timberwolves after he left Oklahoma City: “Nobody is trying to lead the league in scoring here.”
Here’s a quick test as a testament to the new look, egoless Thunder: who were the Thunder’s top two leading scorers against the Spurs? In the past, the answer would be the same every game: PG and Russ or KD and Russ, depending on the season. This season, it’s a different answer every game.*
One of the greatest seasons in Thunder history was the year that one individual wowed the world by winning games all on his own while fans cared less about victories than they did about counting triple doubles.
Now another all-time great Thunder season is the year that OKC is wowing the world by winning games as a team, not individuals, while the team and its fans are only counting victories and couldn’t care less about collecting triple doubles.
- *If you guessed SGA and Steven Adams, let us know in the comments section. You have won Daily Thunder points which can be redeemed for prizes such as scratch and sniff stickers, Ring Pops or a plush Rumble doll.
- The Thunder started the season 6-11. They have since gone 29-11.
- Tonight’s 28-point victory marks the Thunder’s largest win over the Spurs. The previous best was a 19-point margin on 3/26/16.
- Steven Adams and the OKC defense limited legendary Thunder killer LaMarcus Aldridge to 8 points on 3 of 10 shooting. Aldridge usually scores 8 points against the Thunder before tipoff.
- DeMar DeRozan got the Lu Dort treatment to the tune of 11 points on 4 of 12 shooting.
- Lu Dort was 2 for 2 from beyond the arc tonight. Dort consistently hitting 3s is one of the most encouraging signs for the future of the Thunder.
- Lu Dort on all these steals that lead to fast breaks reminds me of Russell Westbrook in Raymond Felton’s body.
- 6”1’ Dennis Schroder beat 6’7” DeMar DeRozan for a jump ball. Which led to a Danilo Gallinari reverse dunk. Followed by a Lu Dort 3. It was some of the most exciting 30 seconds of this Thunder season.
- Undrafted rookie Lu Dort had more points at the half than Spurs All Stars LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan combined.
- One more Dort drop: Lu was a +36 and a perfect 6-6 from the field including 2-2 from 3. He scored 15 points and swiped 3 steals. Rookie of the Year leaders Ja Morant and Zion Williamson, you are on notice.
- Shai scored 22 points on 14 shots and grabbed 13 rebounds. And it feels like an afterthought. I’m not sure if we are taking SGA for granted, or if we are all just blinded by the Lu-ight.
- Steven Adams has been a monster out of the All Star break. After going for 19 and 17 against Jokic, the Big Kiwi had 21 and 14 tonight.
- Nerlens Noel had 5 blocks and continues to be the most underrated player on this team. Post game, Noel said this is the most fun he’s ever had in his 7 years in the league.
- I was irrationally rooting for Mike Muscala to hit one more garbage time 3 pointer so that the Thunder would’ve had 9 players score in double digits.
- Speaking of Muscala, since Bazley has been hurt, the Thunder have run a small ball bench lineup with Ferguson and Nader. Still can’t help but wonder how Muscala instead of one of those guys would look. Improves the shooting, spacing, scoring and rebounding.
- A road win against the hot New Orleans Zions, a double digit win vs the 2 seed Nuggets and a complete destruction of the Spurs. That’s the best 3 game stretch of the Thunder season. Just when you think you can’t be any more impressed with this OKC team.
- Up next: at Chicago on Tuesday night. Or as I like to call it, a Thunder franchise record 9th straight road victory.