What A Comeback by the Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder were looking at a 24-point deficit going into the second half. It came out of nowhere, and the Houston Rockets seemed to be taking the win with ease. The Rockets just kept hitting shots, going to the free-throw line, and doing anything they can to get points.
Last year’s Thunder would have crumbled and maybe would have lost by 40. This year’s team is a completely different story. Going into the third quarter, Paul George, Terrance Ferguson, and Russell Westbrook went to work and completed the comeback on the road. They beat the Rockets 117-112 in a spectacular team effort.
No More Discussion
If there was any night that confirmed George being an MVP candidate, it was this one. This man was unstoppable on both sides of the ball. He limited James Harden to 2/7 shooting, and he couldn’t get anything going when George was on him. George is the best player on this team and the best two-way player in the NBA today. There is no other way to say it.
He finished the game with 45 points on 12/22 shooting, 6/14 from deep, and 15/18 from the free-throw line. Not to mention, he also contributed 11 rebounds and three assists. PJ Tucker will have nightmares of this man. He is showing time and time again this season he should win the MVP. George went head-to-head with the one guy everyone has already written off as MVP, and he outplayed him.
He shot more efficiently from the field and locked everyone up. It is clear he is at least top three in the MVP category. There is no more discussion on that.
I can not stress enough the difference between last year’s and this year’s Thunder team in every facet of the game. The one thing the Thunder fixed this year is clutch time. The last quarter, the last six minutes, the last two minutes, or whatever it is, the Thunder always seemed to screw themselves over. It was a completely different story last night. Who was last night’s saviors in the last two minutes? Of course George, but also another player. That is right, Russell Westbrook.
Everyone knows Westbrook to step in his way a lot of times. Even this year he has had his moments. Remember his turnover against Boston not too long ago? Yes, he has had brutal moments where George has saved the day. But this time, Westbrook held his own. Down one with a little over a minute to go, Westbrook split the defense and scored the layup to take the lead 113-112. With the waning seconds, Westbrook was switched on to Harden for clutch time, and Westbrook made Harden take a tough three-point shot as he flopped hoping for a foul. There was none.
A lot of the credit goes to George, he was massive the entire game. But those last seconds, Westbrook did his job perfectly and helped the Thunder take the comeback win — despite turning the ball over 10 times. He finished with 21 points on 9/21 from the field, along with 12 rebounds and 11 assists.
What Made the Comeback
The Thunder outscored the Rockets 42-20 in the third, and it seemed like everyone got hot. Terrance Ferguson was a big part of that comeback, drilling threes that were open. Dennis Schroder got very hot in the third as well, scoring 17 points off the bench. Westbrook was moving the ball around, finding his groove throughout the quarter. It was an all-out team effort from the starters and the sixth-man.
This is a Rockets team that seems to get every call in every game. However, in the second half, the refs didn’t reward Harden on his bad shots. The Rockets weren’t hitting their threes, and they weren’t playing as a team. The Thunder’s defense took advantage of that and helped get the win on the road. This Rockets team is still a playoff team, and they made moves to get better. The Thunder just aren’t the same team from a year ago.
Harden finished the night with 42 points on 11/28 shooting from the field, 6/16 from three, and 14/15 from the line. Also, he only had one measly assist. Chris Paul ended with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists, and Kenneth Faried had 17 points and 12 rebounds.
No Moves Made
The Thunder made no moves before the trade deadline. They are rocking with the same exact team. Maybe they will get someone on the buy-out market, but they might not need it. This team can do it all. They have a system, and they play both sides of the ball very well.
George is phenomenal. Westbrook as of late has found his groove, and everyone knows what their position is in this system. There is no doubt in my mind that they are the second best team in the Western Conference. With George and Westbrook leading the way, with a really good set of role players, this team can give the Golden State Warriors a run for their money.
They have depth, they have swag, and they have the utmost confidence in themselves. This win proves it. They improve to 36-19 on the season.
Follow us on Twitter: @T101Sports @T101SportsNBA
Follow us on YouTube:
Subscribe to get the latest news from TSJ and the TSJ 101 Sports TV YouTube channel! Play and win weekly at Thrive Fantasy!
@okcthunder via Twitter
Writer Brandan Verrastro