The Oklahoma City Thunder break the start-of-the-season losing streak picking up the first win of the regular season Sunday night defeating the Phoenix Suns 117-110.
The Thunder faced a major setback going 0-4 to start the season, and frustrations were high.
“It’s frustrating, of course, for the whole group,” Dennis Schroder said following the loss to Boston on Thursday. This was the fourth consecutive loss for the Thunder.
Tonight, however, was a different story, and the Thunder seem to be meshing together a lot more cohesively as the season continues on. There was a fire in the players tonight and the drive to finally add to the win column.
- Jerami Grant is a great starter, and he seems to really find a good rhythm with guys like Russ and PG. He looks to improve with every game played, and tonight he finished with 14 points and 4 rebounds going 4-9 from the field and 1-4 from 3-point range.
- 3-pointers are not the Thunder’s forte this season. A lot of 3’s are being taken – 24 tonight – and the Thunder were only 7-24 from beyond the arc. PG and Patrick Patterson were the main 3-point shooters tonight – Paul having four and Patrick making two of his four attempts – but shots from 3 are definitely a weak link for the Thunder offense.
- Nerlens Noel was fantastic. 10 minutes before the game, he was told he would be taking Steven Adams’ spot in the starting five after Adams was ruled out for the night with calf tightness, and Nerlens handled it like a champ picking up 20 points, 15 rebounds and 4 steals. Nerlens was excellent on defense and had more hustle and fast reflexes than before. He made some good looks on offense as well connecting with players like Dennis Schroder to make good plays. If Nerlens keeps this up, I could easily see him falling into the fourth spot of the starting lineup as a power forward. Having the duo of Steven Adams and Nerlens Noel on the floor together with Russ and Paul could make for an effective starting lineup.
- Patrick Patterson had a much better game tonight than he has all season. He’s made it known through social media outlets such as Instagram that he acknowledges his weak moments and desires to improve, and tonight he did just that. Patterson ended the night with 17 points and 4 rebounds going 6-10 from the field and 2-5 from the 3-point line.
- Free throws desperately need to improve for the Thunder. Overall, the Thunder went 24-35 from the free throw line and shot 69 percent. This is an improvement from earlier in the season, but getting to the foul line is about the easiest way in basketball to extend the lead over your opponent, and if the Thunder can’t hit these shots, it could really end up hurting them down the stretch.
The Thunder will be back in action on Tuesday night hoping to add to their win column as they host the Los Angeles Clippers at the Peake. The Thunder lost to the Clippers in LA during the second game of the season at 108-92 and will look to avenge this loss. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
Watch below to see what players such as Russell Westbrook, Dennis Schroder, and Nerlens Noel had to say about tonight’s win over the Suns.