OKC Thunder: 3 lessons learned from Pistons Feb. 7 replay

OKC Thunder Power Rankings week 7: Steven Adams #12 and Chris Paul #3 of the OKC Thunder talk during the game vs. Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder Power Rankings week 7: Steven Adams #12 and Chris Paul #3 of the OKC Thunder talk during the game vs. Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

In the replay of the OKC Thunder, February 7th win over the Pistons the club can pull three lessons to apply in Orlando.

Another Fox Sports Oklahoma replay offered up some valuable lessons for the OKC Thunder as they prepare for the season restart.

Recalling the night of this match the Thunder were weary having played more games in January than any team in the association. It was also the second match in a row where for portions of the game OKC played down to their competition.

Undoubtedly, the team was dealing with the emotional baggage of getting through the trade deadline especially since many thought Sam Presti may continue to trade assets and collect more draft picks. As it turned out those believing that was his goal were wrong. True to his word, Presti stated at season start this year was about replenishing and reformatting the team.

Three lessons to carry into Orlando:

Paul’s effect in wins:

By this point in the season, there was reason to ride with the club and the players on it. Chris Paul was delivering and helping Shai Gilgeous-Alexander‘s growth both in terms of his on court production and in developing the type of leadership necessary to carry a club.

When Paul eventually leaves the Thunder those lessons passed along to Shai will prove invaluable. His game management is beyond reproach. Often CP3 will ease into matches offensively and only insert himself if necessary.

This victory was a perfect example of his ability to recognize when the team needed a shot in the arm. Like many of the Thunder wins this season Paul took over down the stretch to ensure OKC got the win.

He finished the game with 22 points, six rebounds, seven assists, and a block was typical of his overall effect in matches.

OKC Thunder big man depth:

While many teams are eagerly pursuing small ball schemes the role of the big man isn’t antiquated quite yet. The Thunder possesses two centers who don’t spread the floor but are invaluable in so many other ways.

Steven Adams continues to do all the little things that don’t show up on a stat sheet but whether it’s setting a screen or helping on defense all those little things help the Thunder win. Likewise, Nerlens Noel offers a different look at center. His length and quickness provide OKC with a big who can defend out to the perimeter while also defending the paint.

In this win, both big men delivered.  Adams registered 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and a block. Noel filled up the stat shit with seven points, six rebounds, an assist, two steals, and two blocks.

Perimeter Defense:

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Every club in Orlando will be firing away from deep so solid perimeter defense is essential. This match showcased why the Thunder are among the top tier of 3-point defenders in the league.

When this game took place the Pistons ranked in the top five of 3-point efficiency. OKC shut them down holding them to 28.9 percent on 11 of 39 attempts.

Heading into Orlando while players could be rusty offensively, their defensive abilities will rely more on effort and focus. The Thunder are tied for eighth defending the perimeter and with big men Adams and Noel also capable of defending the paint that’s a benefit they can count on.

For those who prefer the full statistical information click here for ESPN’s box score or here for our grades that followed the win in Motor City.

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