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) /
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OKC Thunder
JANUARY 9: Terrance Ferguson #23 of the OKC Thunder plays defense against the Houston Rockets (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder player roles are clearly defined:

Having Westbrook and James Harden in the house served to remind of just how different this new iteration of the Thunder is. In past years whether it was Kevin Durant and Russ, or the original OK3 of KD, Russ and Harden or Russ and Paul George the offense for the Thunder has always run through a few superstar players. Subsequently, the majority of the seasons in OKC utilized iso ball to take advantage of those players.

This Thunder team functions more within a specific system on both sides of the court and every single player has a purpose.

The most obvious evidence from this game was how the Thunder shut down James Harden. Terrance Ferguson gets the award for his doing his job to the nth degree this evening although the team help defense was equally brilliant.

Tasked with having to slow James Harden he delivered arguably the best one on one defense of the season on the bearded man. The stats would agree with Harden registering his lowest point total of the season of 17 points on five of 17 from the field and getting a mere five trips to the free throw line. Harden leads the league in scoring with  38.5 points.

Ferguson was masterful on Harden dogging him wherever he was on the hardwood and the timing of two critical blocks on his shots proved to be momentum builders for OKC.

it was also the fewest points the Rockets have scored this season with a previous low of 95 versus the Denver Nuggets.