Before the season began, there were a few ideal losses we marked down during the OKC Thunder campaign.
This was not an ideal one. At all.
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Nov 20, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Monta Ellis (11) drives to the basket in front of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Andre Roberson (21) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma City hosted the shorthanded Indiana Pacers, who did not dress Paul George or C.J. Miles for tonight’s affair. Easy win right? Wrong.
What transpired in the first quarter was the complete opposite of what we expected as the Pacers jumped on Oklahoma City early with a flurry of points of turnovers and complete onslaught in the paint (18 points in the paint in the first). The Thunder could not simply hold on to the ball and the Pacers continually made them pay for the free gifts.
Thunder defense getting sliced up. Twelve points in the paint on eight made baskets. 18-14 Pacers at first timeout 5:23.
The Thunder finally did that thing where they wake up in the second half and realize they should beating a team playing without it’s only superstar. A whole lot of Kanter-Westbrook action later, and OKC found themselves in a position to do what they do best, get stops and score.