OKC Thunder vs. Cavaliers Jan. 4th replay: 3 keys in the match

Chris Paul #3 celebrates with Dennis Schroder #17 of the OKC Thunder after the two connected for a score during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Chris Paul #3 celebrates with Dennis Schroder #17 of the OKC Thunder after the two connected for a score during the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Next up on Fox OK replay series OKC Thunder and Cavaliers Jan. 4, match. Tune in at 7:00 p.m. with a view to these three keys to the victory.

While fans await the return of NBA basketball Fox Sports Oklahoma continues its series of top OKC Thunder games to satiate our need for games. The game on tap this evening is the January 4th game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

This victory for the Thunder was one that didn’t require clutch heroics as OKC jumped on the Cavs from the tip and never let the lead go.

Overall this game was a perfect example of the club displaying their ever-improving chemistry and the win was a result of a full team effort. If the NBA continues on the current path to resume the season this game offers an example of why the Thunder believes they could fare well in Orlando.

With that, as you settle into your favorite chair to watch the replay here’s three keys to focus on from the win.

Three keys to OKC Thunder win vs. Cavaliers

Schroder starts to separate himself as Sixth Man of the Year:

In his second full season with the Thunder, Dennis Schroder turned heads and changed minds (raises hand) about his ability to be a team player. It’s not that many of us thought he wasn’t capable of the type of production he’s having this season. Rather, it seemed like he wasn’t willing. In fairness to Schroder playing on a team with two superstars didn’t leave him much opportunity to stand out.

He wanted (and I’d wager still wants to) be a starter. But, head coach Billy Donovan got his buy-in, tweaked the closing rotation to the trio of point guards, and no doubt the presence of Chris Paul has shifted everything.

Regardless, Dennis still had to agree to this role and he’s reveling in it. In hindsight, if he is one of the finalists for Sixth Man of the Year (and to be frank he deserves to win it) for his work this season he’ll collect a big payday when he signs his next contract.

This match versus the Cavaliers is a great example of the excellence the German is performing with this season. He led the team in scoring (22 points) and scored more than the entire Cavaliers bench. The Thunder guard filled up the stat sheet with two rebounds, three assists, hit two 3-pointers, along with a steal. Additionally, he led the team in the net differential with a plus 19.

Adams proves he’s in the upper echelon of big men:

As OKC Thunder fans we’re well aware of how valuable Steven Adams is to the team. Others who simply check out the box score don’t get a true picture of his presence and because of it he often goes unnoticed by the mainstream.

Although, when you listen to former players talk on TV about the OKC Thunder they rarely speak about the team without citing Adams because they understand precisely how large of an effect he has.

This match was yet another example of the Big Kiwi’s presence. The Cavaliers focus on their guards to create offense but Tristan Thompson is putting up career scoring and assist numbers while also averaging a double-double.

Adams shut him down in this contest holding him to 1 of 7 from the field for three points and though Thompson still got his rebounds (14) he didn’t have the impact he typically does for the Cavs.

For his part, Adams did it all with a double-double of 10 points and 16 rebounds along with four assists, a steal, and a block.

OKC Thunder identity taking shape:

More from Thunderous Intentions

Early in the season, there were copious games that demonstrated the OKC Thunder were adjusting to all the new bodies and the offensive system changes.  By Thanksgiving, things began to click and with that, the team began to address their biggest issues such as winning games on the road, starting the game with energy, and coming out of the break with aggressive.

This game mirrored those changes as the Thunder won the first quarter 34-27 and kept the third quarter within a point.

Another notable factor this game highlighted was how this group has figured out how to take advantage of mismatches. Although Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander produced they weren’t needed to be as dominant in the grand scheme of things since Adams and Dennis Schroder were beasting against their matchups.

With the game well in hand, the Thunder also didn’t need clutch time to close this game out which is when CP3 and SGA tend to raise their play.

For those interested in the stats and individual numbers check out our player grades that followed the January 4th victory.

Next. Top 15 NBA Draft picks in Thunder franchise history. dark