5 takeaways from OKC Thunder epic win in Houston

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 7: Russell Westbrook
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 7: Russell Westbrook /
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OKC Thunder coach Billy Donovan talks to small forward Paul George
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – OCTOBER 19: Paul George #13 of the OKC Thunder and Billy Donovan of the OKC Thunder talk as George leaves the game during the second half of a NBA game against the New York Knicks at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on October 19, 2017 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images) /

Billy D makes the right moves:

Straight up, I own my previous negativity towards Donovan’s rotations. At the Toyota Center he pulled out the stops and made all the right moves.

I could question keeping Corey Brewer in the game as long as he did given he continually missed wide open perimeter shots. Or his choice to not keep Carmelo Anthony in the game when he was on fire.

But, my main issue came with Patrick Patterson displaying his defensive prowess as the OKC Thunder extended their lead to eight points. I wanted to throw something at the TV screen when Donovan subbed in Anthony at 4:50 of the final frame.

However, the first defensive play resulted in Melo making a key block at the rim to stymie James Harden. Kudos Billy D, I didn’t see that one coming.

Donovan also kept Jerami Grant in the game along with Alex Abrines late to help spread the floor. And although Donovan has often utilized the Paul George reserve unit this season it hasn’t always produced the results. On this night, they not only erased a six point deficit, by the time Westbrook returned they were leading by two points.  Ask yourself how many times that happened last season.

So hat tip to Billy Donovan on his roster management. Hey, if I’m going to slam him when he falters, I have to credit him when he succeeds.