OKC Thunder rout Rockets emphasizing the new era system- 3 takeaways

OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
1 of 4
OKC Thunder
OKC Thunder: Chris Paul #3 and Russell Westbrook #0 attend a game (Photo by David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The OKC Thunder put the past behind them and move fully into the new era with blow-out victory over Rockets. Three takeaways serve up the goods.

Thursday evening marked the completion in many ways of the inaugural era of the OKC Thunder and the beginning of a new era. Russell Westbrook was the last remaining player from the squad who provided a decade plus of thrills for the fans at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

But with his trade to the Houston Rockets this past summer it closed the book on that golden era and in essence launched a new period for the franchise with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a group of youngsters and savvy vets who are putting their own mark on what the franchise will be moving forward. Although the team has already launched into this new period the finishing touch was having Westbrook play here with his new team.

As was expected the crowd erupted for the Brodie during his introduction and ensuing video tribute. And unless you were caught up in the drama on social media the game that followed also served notice this new crew in OKC aren’t messing around. They have developed into a solid two-way team that functions within a controlled system. Led by Chris Paul this squad utilizes lockdown defense (a remaining staple of the franchise identity) but a new free-flowing offense has replaced the iso ball of bygone years.

OKC jumped on the Rockets from the tip building an impressive 37-21 lead in the initial frame which was their highest-scoring opening quarter this season. Aside from Westbrook no other Rockets player got in rhythm amounting to the Thunder leading the entirety of the game and notching an easy 113-92 victory.

Given the dynamics of the evening isolating the game down to three takeaways is somewhat difficult but there is a trio of things which stood out: