Thunder Journal: Heat 2 Hot From 3 4 OKCnatashapanchal.com

Thunder Journal: Heat 2 Hot From 3 4 OKC

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Dear Daily Thunder Diary,

It’s been two days since my last entry.

The last time we spoke, I filled these pages proposing the promise of endless wins for the Oklahoma City Thunder this season.

Specifically, I said the words “the Thunder cannot lose this season” and “there’s 67 games left on the schedule, all of them guaranteed wins” and “this season is going to be fun for Thunder fans”.

OKC immediately followed my proclamation with a resounding 118-90 loss to the Miami Heat.

Are we having fun yet?

But I stand by my words. A 28 point collapse courtesy of the East champs still leaves the Thunder undefeated this season. As a matter of fact, OKC picked up two wins in an empty American Airlines Arena.

The first win was the loss. In years past, every win mattered for a championship contending OKC team’s playoff seeding. In 2021, every loss matters for a Cade Cunningham contending OKC team’s lottery seeding. The Thunder are going to be fighting tooth and nail with the likes of the Pistons, Hornets, Wolves, Grizz, Kings, Cavs, Bulls and of course the Knicks for a top 3 pick.

So a big thank you to Kelly Olynyk (really, this dude?), Andre Iguodala (seriously?!) and Duncan Robinson (okay, I get it) for your 3 point barrage that blew open a game that had been a tense and tight 67-63 with 7:44 left in the third quarter. You three Miamisketeers  combined for 12-21 long range shooting while simultaneously raising OKC’s lottery odds.

The second win was the young core. Far more important than the win/loss record this season is the good game/bad game ratio of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, Darius Bazley, Aleksej Pokusevski and Theo Maledon. Poku’s concussion gave the rookie his best shooting percentage of the season.  Fellow rookie Maledon had a so-so 7 points on 7 shots, but he popped off some pretty passes and once again played with poise. But it was the new and improved OK3 (no offense, Russ) who led the Thunder tonight.

Cade’s future backcourt running mate SGA continued to look like a star in the first half, scoring 15 points on 6-9 shooting despite being hounded by Jimmy Butler. Dort continued to flex his offensive muscle with 12 points including two more 3s while locking down Thunder fan crush Tyler Herro to the tune of 7 points on 3-9 shooting. And Bazley was OKC’s best player for the second straight game with a line of 16-8-2-2-1 in three quarters.

The young Thunder Three were OKC’s best players tonight and once again shone hope for a fun future, but they were no match for the Miami Threes.

Heat management hopes to be riding in a parade through South Beach this summer. Thunder management hopes to be riding a tank to the draft lottery this summer.

Thanks to the third best Canadian player in Monday night’s game, both teams got one step closer to their goal.

Talk to you soon, Dear DT Diary. Always fun to talk Thunder hoops, but I gotta go. Cobra Kai Season 3 isn’t going to watch itself.

X’s and O’s, X’s and O’s,

Brandon

Notes:

  • Justin Jackson took Poku’s minutes off the bench tonight. Isaiah Roby back in the rotation over Kenrich Williams.
  • OKC ended the 1st quarter with a flurry: A beautiful one handed cross court pass from Maledon to Muscala, who got tackled but still hit a 3 and the free throw. Jackson steals the inbound pass and hits a jumper. The tanking Thunder were tied with the Finals runner-ups after 1.
  • Hamidou Diallo hits at least one “what is he doing?!” bonkers basket per game.
  • Lu Dort has hit at least one 3 pointer in all six games this season. After a decade of trying, did OKC finally find a starting 3&D shooting guard?
  • Bazley had back to back 3s, two free throws and three rebounds in a one minute spurt.
  • Thunder have been blown out in every game Poku hasn’t played.
  • Darius Miller made his Thunder debut midway through the 4th quarter of a 30 point game. Erik Spoelstra was visibly shaken.
  • My suggestion to make yourself feel better after a 30 point blow out: watching Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley and Jalen Suggs highlight videos. Wash them down with a highlight reel Shai, Dort or Bazley chaser.
  • Up next: rematch against Steven Adams and the Pelicans on Wednesday night. New Orleans have an uphill battle if they want to top their 33 point win from less than a week ago.

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