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: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets drives to the basket against the OKC Thunder (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Offensive tweaks are being added:

The new iteration of the Thunder has a more balanced approach to their offense. Chris Paul is on hand to take over in tight scenarios but anyone of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari (who was magnificent in this outing), Dennis Schroder, CP3 or Steven Adams can score. That allows for Billy Donovan to go at specific matchup advantages. The other commonality of this club is they stick with whoever has the hot hand.

That might seem like a no-brainer but watch enough basketball and you’ll discover many teams forget to do that even though it’s the most fundamental advantage a team can utilize. Simply sticking with what or rather who is working is one of the qualities this OKC club sticks with to great advantage. The perfect example was early in the game when Gallinari had it rolling the team just kept going back to him until the Rockets finally stopped the play.

Most importantly the Thunder is taking advantage of their balanced scoring ability and it’s working as opponent defenses are kept off balance since they don’t have one specific player to key their efforts on.

Case in point, five different OKC Thunder players scored 15 or more points including Gallinari (23), Gilgeous-Alexander (20), Paul (18), Schroder (16) and Steven Adams (15). In contrast, the Rockets got 34 from Westbrook, 17 from Harden and 14 from rookie Chris Clemons who scored all his points within the final six minutes i.e. in garbage time.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t highlights to be experienced — just ask Isaiah Hartenstein who’ll likely never recover from the nutmeg CP3 laid on him.


Through the last 20 games, the club is clicking and most of that is due to their defense which ranks in the top 10. With it humming along coupled with the team finding a rhythm offensively the new tweak appears to be increased pace.

It’s always made sense for this group to take advantage of their youth and athleticism so in the coming weeks watch for an increase in fast break scoring and pace as they continue to add this feature to their system.