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Recreation Recap: Thunder 118, Hawks 109

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Excessive-level ball motion and pushing the tempo in transition opened the door for the Thunder to construct up a commanding lead over the Hawks. Regardless of Atlanta slicing the result in single digits within the fourth quarter, contributions from every participant on the ground allowed the Thunder to stroll away with the win.


The Thunder scored over 30 factors in every of the primary three quarters, shot above 50 % from the sphere for the sport and dished out 31 whole assists. Briefly, the Thunder’s offense was buzzing at a excessive stage.

“I assumed that was the epitome of men taking part in with tempo, creating benefits for one another and spraying the ball round to search out the open man,” mentioned Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault.

The largest issue within the Thunder’s offensive rhythm towards the Hawks was its high-level ball motion because it dished out 19 assists within the first half alone. Main the help column was Thunder guard Ty Jerome in his Thunder debut. Jerome was recalled from the Thunder’s G-league affiliate, OKC Blue simply the day earlier than the place he was assigned after lacking a big portion of the Thunder’s early season with an ankle sprain. In Orlando, Jerome labored his approach again to full-health and was capable of contribute at a high-level showing in 9 video games and averaged 12 factors on 24 minutes per evening.

In his first 12 minutes in a Thunder uniform, Jerome instantly made a splash on the ground as he seamlessly match into the move of the Thunder’s offense with 4 factors, six assists and a steal. By the tip of the evening, Jerome notched a brand new report for many assists in a Thunder debut with seven.

“I feel it is only a actually good anecdote for us developmentally,” mentioned Daigneault. “The very best half about it’s it wasn’t simple and a lot of the credit score goes to Ty as a result of he is the one doing the work, however that is the kind of stuff that as a program we take a ton of pleasure in.”

“Ty’s a basketball participant. You may stick him wherever with any lineup and he’s going to mesh properly,” mentioned Gilgeous-Alexander. “He can shoot, go, placed on the ground and accomplish that many issues that it is simple for him to mix in and look good and also you guys noticed that tonight and he actually elevated our play tonight.”

Thunder rookie level guard Théo Maledon additionally made large contributions to the Thunder’s help column as he tied an OKC rookie report with 12 dimes. Maledon served as a large facilitator within the Thunder’s offense as he took benefit of transition alternatives to push the tempo and discover his teammates.

“I attempted to push the ball as a lot as doable and it opened up lots of wide-open teammates and so they made the proper selection,” mentioned Maledon in his postgame interview with FOX Sports activities Oklahoma.

The one space the place the Thunder suffered towards the Hawks was on the offensive glass. Atlanta’s large man Clint Capela proved to be a menace on the boards as he racked up a game-high 21 rebounds and 9 on the offensive finish. He was the spark that allowed the Hawks to outrebound the Thunder 54 to 39 and would play a significant factor down the stretch as Atlanta appeared to comeback from down 17.

Regardless of build up a lead of as many as 17 within the third quarter, Atlanta clawed its approach again to make it a six-point recreation within the fourth quarter. It was a 12-4 run fueled by second possibilities on offense. The Hawks completed the evening with 19 offensive rebounds, eight of which got here within the fourth quarter alone. The second seems to be on the rim opened up the door for ATL to climb again into the motive force’s seat within the remaining two and a half minutes.

Nonetheless, along with the Thunder’s shot making on Friday, its disciplined protection held the Hawks’ main scorer in Trae Younger to a manageable 17 factors (10 under his common) on simply 7-of-21 capturing and 3-of-9 from the 3-point line. Within the fourth body, Younger was restricted to simply 4 makes an attempt, all of which have been from the 3-point line and he solely transformed on one. Much more, Younger completed the evening with no single journey to the foul line. As a participant who’s third the league in free throw makes an attempt per evening, the Thunder’s emphasis on clear, disciplined protection was executed to perfection.

“Be aggressive with out fouling,” mentioned Gilgeous-Alexander who completed with a team-high 24 factors. “Lots of good scorers on this league generate factors and rhythm like that. We simply did not need them to have too many journeys to the free throw line. That was a giant emphasis.”

Atlanta introduced the sport all the way down to 9 factors a number of instances all through the fourth quarter together with with 1:40 remaining within the recreation. It was a degree within the recreation that would have been thought-about a essential juncture had it not been for the dazzling play that despatched the sport again as much as double figures.

Darius Bazley acquired a go from Maledon as Atlanta’s aggressive protection appeared to grab a steal. As he squared as much as the rim, Bazley gave one fast go faux to the nook that despatched two defenders out of place. All of a sudden the lane was utterly vacant for the second yr ahead to assault the rim. As he elevated, Bazley introduced the ball down for a short second to keep away from the outstretched arms of John Collins however nonetheless had sufficient dangle time to complete of the dunk and drive Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce to name a timeout.

“I feel, truthfully, it was simply intuition for Baze. I name him a freak of nature however he is only a freak athlete,” mentioned Gilgeous-Alexander. “He simply made a daily basketball play for Baze, which is type of loopy.”

Between the assists, the capturing percentages and odd variety of uniforms, Friday’s recreation featured a gamut of stats which might be worthy of the limelight.

Kenrich Williams

“I feel that is our greatest recreation so far as getting all people else concerned and taking part in actual group basketball.”
-Kenrich Williams

“Enjoying quick like that, getting stops and transferring the ball, it creates lots of vitality. It was actually enjoyable.”

–Darius Bazley

The Thunder will shut out its grueling stretch of 5 video games in seven days on Saturday because the squad hosts Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets on the second evening of a back-to-back. The sport will air on FOX Sports activities Oklahoma at 7 p.m. CT and on WWLS 98.1 FM The Sports activities Animal and the Thunder Radio Community.






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