Thunder Basketball

Paul George’s Big Second Quarter Helps OKC Scorch Houston 98-80

Paul George’s Big Second Quarter Helps OKC Scorch Houston 98-80

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Oklahoma City Thunder (7-4) controlled the first quarter only to see their lead evaporate in the blink of an eye. A patented 20-9 run put the Houston Rockets (4-6) ahead 39-38. It looked like the Rockets we’ve all come to know. Drive and kick, open made three. Time and time again.

All this while Paul George, who began the night 1-for-5, sat on the bench.

George checked in at the 6:12 mark. From there Oklahoma City finished the quarter on a 21-6 run. George hit all five of his shots in the quarter, including 3-for-3 from three. The Thunder walked into the locker room with a 59-45 lead and never looked back.

“He finds ways to get himself into the game,” Billy Donovan said of George’s second quarter. “He finds ways to get himself involved and rip off a two or three minute period where he can change the momentum of the game. He really got going in that quarter.”

It wasn’t just offense tonight for the Thunder. Oklahoma City leads the league in steals at nearly 12 a game. Tonight they had 11 with George leading the way with six.

George finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.

The Thunder’s ability to get steals that lead to easy, transition buckets kept Houston from getting comfortable in the second half. The Rockets shot 42 three pointers, only making 11 of them. Four of those 11 came in that 20-9 second quarter run.

“I thought our guys did a great job defensively with tonight being the second night of a back to back,” Donovan said. “They have such great shooters but I thought our effort on defense was really good.”

Terrance Ferguson had by far his most complete game of the year. The second-year guard hit two of his first three three pointers in the first quarter. The confidence was there and it bled into his defense. Ferguson finished with 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including 4-of-9 from three.

Tonight also marked the return of Carmelo Anthony to Oklahoma City. Once he checked into the game early in the first quarter, the Thunder crowd gave him a warm ovation. An ovation that Anthony was appreciative of.

It wasn’t the night Anthony wanted. The former Thunder player finished 1-for-11. His only points came from a Nerlens Noel goaltend.

“I missed them,” Anthony said of his numerous open shots. “At the end of the day I missed those looks. As a team we didn’t shoot the ball well, we shot poorly. It got our energy down. Today we just didn’t have a good game.”

With the Golden State Warriors loss against Milwaukee, the Thunder now have the longest winning steak in the NBA at seven. Oklahoma City will travel to Dallas tomorrow to take on the Mavericks Saturday night.

Thunder Basketball

Brady has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder since 2016. University of Oklahoma alum class of 2014. He has worked for the Franchise since April 2018. Co-Host of the OKC-82 Podcast. Member of the Basketball Insider's Show.

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