OKC Thunder 3 takeaways: Playing to identity marks winning efforts

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OKC Thunder

Jaren Jackson Jr, OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)

With the Grizzlies victory, the OKC Thunder have won nine of their last 10 games. Takeaways note playing to the club’s defensive identity results in easier wins.

Oklahoma City played a very uncharacteristic style of play against Memphis. Out of 90 field goal attempts, 44 were from 3-point distance. The OKC Thunder did manage to hit 17 of those attempts for an acceptable 38.6 percent. Memphis clogged the paint and basically dared OKC to shoot from distance.

The low percentage shot selection allowed Memphis to stay in the game, even carrying a lead into halftime. The Thunder seemed to return to their identity in the third quarter by getting Steven Adams involved early as he finished the game with 11 points on a perfect shooting night hitting all five of his attempts from the field.

Russell Westbrook has almost devalued the significance of the triple-double as he managed to obtain one for the eighth straight game passing Michael Jordan‘s consecutive streak and only one shy of tying Wilt Chamberlain for nine in a row. The most astonishing thing about Westbrook’s recent triple-double streak is how close he can get to 20-20-20 stat lines. Russ added 15 assists, 13 rebounds to go with 15 points.

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I suppose we should mention Paul George and his measly (sarcasm) 27 points. George also added 4 steals to his league-leading total. PG has vaulted himself into the MVP conversation although many feel as if it is only a two horse race between James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo. He has also been in the argument as the best two way player in the league with many analysts and pundits saying he has taken over the title from two-time defensive player of the year Kawhi Leonard.

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