Scrappy OKC Thunder lose in clutch to desperate 76ers: grades

JANUARY 6: Steven Adams #12 of the OKC Thunder handles the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
JANUARY 6: Steven Adams #12 of the OKC Thunder handles the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
JANUARY 6: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots the ball against the OKC Thunder (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

. PG. Oklahoma City Thunder. DENNIS SCHRODER. A

It was an odd night for Schroder who was at times masterful and at others fell prey to some old habits of taking some shots that perhaps were better going to a more open teammate. Still, he turned Mike Scott inside out and dropped Tobias Harris like a bad habit on a step back that was masterful.

He’s grown so much this season it’s hard to be too hard on him and despite the mammoth size of most of his defensive covers he held his own. Late in the fourth Josh Richardson tried to pull a Schroder on Schroder but he refused to bite on the pump fake holding his ground and JR had to move the ball after what seemed like he spent the entirety of the shot clock trying to take advantage of the matchup.

He scored 21 points with two rebounds and four assists. He was slightly more efficient than his triad of partners shooting 8 of 15 from the field but his perimeter shot was off (1 of 3) and his free throws which are typically reliable weren’t (4 of 7) on this night.

Overall, a solid effort from the man who deserves more discussion as a sixth man candidate given what he’s been delivering this season.

Best Opponent:

C. Philadelphia 76ers. JOEL EMBIID. A+.

After witnessing the close up of that finger and quite literally dealing with my own finger ailment (tendon) at the moment my hat goes off to Joel Embiid for even staying in the game. The dislocation was bad and it was surprising they were able to pop it back in because it looked like the type of dislocation that would result in a fracture so he was very fortunate (although the associated pain he’ll deal with on Tuesday won’t be fun).

In truth, Ben Simmons should get equal consideration for 17 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists, and a steal. But, Embiid had similar numbers with 18 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists all while playing three quarters with a heavily taped finger.

Warning- if you have a queasy stomach – avoid looking at the following video.

It wasn’t just his finger which swayed me in Embiid’s direction either. During those final three minutes, he was the difference in the game. Of the 12 points scored during that segment Embiid either assisted (2) or scored on seven of them. The other five points were a mixture of Richardson and Simmons.

Suffice to say either was deserving of the nod and there would be no argument if Simmons was your choice especially with the 15 rebounds.

More from Thunderous Intentions


  • Darius Bazley showed some moxie tonight in bits and pieces. Although I’d like him to finish with more aggression at the basket his game impresses. Sure he’s raw, but his continued development is something we’re witnessing on a game by game basis.
  • Has Abdel Nader been sent to Siberia?
  • To that end, Mike Muscala proved via his defense why Billy Donovan has him strapped to the bench and simultaneously has fans wishing Alec Burks was the individual who decided to stay true to the moratorium agreement instead.
  • There were glimpses from the 76ers of their sheer talent and how difficult an out they could be if everything comes together BUT — there were also signs of stagnancy at times particularly offensively which feels like it’s not a matter of chemistry but rather due to fit.
  • For as impressive as the 76ers starting unit is their bench is equally unimpressive. Trey Burke got in a few got shots and Mike Scott did his typical thing but in truth, these aren’t the ideal pieces for Philadelphia who not only need to figure out the fit on the core group but should be looking to add depth off the bench.
  • Kudos to the Thunder (especially Adams) for winning the battle on the glass. In spite of the size disadvantage, everyone crashed the glass to give the Thunder a 47-42 edge.
  • A few uncharacteristic things happened in the match such as turnovers and fast break scoring. OKC had more turnovers than the opponent which is unusual. All season TI has pushed for the Thunder to utilize their athleticism via the fast break and tonight they delivered via 24 points. It’s likely that strategy was employed to counteract the Sixers length but the Thunder should use that strategy more, especially with the second unit.
  • Nerlens Noel was missed (get that ankle right big guy – sending healing vibes your way).

While it would’ve been great to steal the win kudos to the team for once again fighting right to the wire. Losses don’t hurt quite as much when the effort is on display and that’s a guarantee for this iteration.

The OKC Thunder get no rest as they are immediately back in action Tuesday night in Brooklyn. Fortunately, the Nets played too but unfortunately, they’ll be playing with desperation as they suffered their six loss in a row. Check back in the morning for out gameday preview.

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For a full box score of tonight’s game head over to this link via ESPN. As always be sure to check out all of our exclusive content here at Thunderous Intentions