A statement OKC Thunder victory over the Lakers served up three takeaways.
Fans of the OKC Thunder are in a state of joy today as they witnessed their club take down the top team in the West on Wednesday evening.
Part of the joy stems from the fact the Lakers superstars played their typical minutes and were invested in winning the match.
One game after the squad appeared disjointed and weaknesses were pointed out this victory highlighted the importance of matchups.
OKC Thunder three takeaways from win:
Mind you, someone might have forgotten to tell AD this was a competition his club wanted to win because he reverted to his less aggressive game style similar to his game versus the Raptors. In that match on Saturday, Davis attempted only seven shots (connecting on two) but got to the charity stripe nine times.
Against the Thunder, he attempted 11 shots hitting three but got fewer free throws (four) and finished with nine points.
All five Thunder starters reached double-figure scoring while only LeBron James accomplished that feat for the Lakers starters.
LeBron tried to spark his team’s offense on several occasions but each time he orchestrated a momentum shift the Thunder clamped down defensively to re-establish their lead.
The OKC Thunder were playing undermanned missing the services of Dennis Schroder, Terrance Ferguson, and Mike Muscala. And the fact the Thunder seemed to dominate the contest from start to finish made the win all the more satisfying.
Controlling tempo and pace
With the loss to the Nuggets and victory against the Lakers, a simple but important lesson was learned.
While there is talent on this Thunder squad all teams will look to take away the strengths of their opponent and play to their advantage.
The Thunder can’t do anything about height – teams with length will always be taller and no amount of tinkering with lineups will alter that fact.
However, the OKC Thunder can control the pace and tempo of the game. It’s been a common talking point throughout the time in Orlando and something T.I. pinpointed as an essential requirement in our Lakers preview.
Two matches – two different results and an essential game point moving forward for all the Thunder matches.
One injury can end a team’s season:
Every fan in Thunder Nation held their collective breaths when Steven Adams fell to the ground last night.
There was a knot in our stomachs as we witnessed the big man limp up and down the court a few times, and eventually sub out to get worked on by trainers.
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If you saw the Ben Simmons injury yesterday you’ll note how easily these injuries can occur. Simmons simply went up for a rebound and seemed to land awkwardly.
As the play continued he moved back a few steps, noticed something was off and he was done for the night. The reports are his kneecap shifted. The 76ers star could be out 10 days or for months. Everyone deals with this injury differently.
Now go back in your mind’s eye to replay Adams fall, how his leg bent in unnatural ways while JaVale McGee fell on top of him pinning that leg under the Big Kiwi.
Through two games without Dennis Schroder, we’ve witnessed how valuable one player is to the squad. And in the case of this OKC Thunder squad – every single player is valuable because each fills a very specific role.
Losing any member of this unit could have devastating long term effects.
Thankfully, Adams returned, played wonderfully, and joked about the incident in the post-game presser. Let’s hope the good luck continues as this special team marches onward in their hopes for a very deep playoff run.