For too many times this season, the Oklahoma City Thunder has struggled to win close games. In the Wednesday’s matchup against the Utah Jazz, however, it wasn’t even close. OKC has started the game with excellent defense and held back the Jazz at nine points while scoring 25. At the halftime, Thunder was up 16 points, but that wasn’t something to take lightly when knowing that in 14 of their previous 16 games, OKC was outscored in the third quarter.
This time, there were no such hiccups. Russell Westbrook took the backseat after scoring 20 at the halftime and let Paul George and Carmelo Anthony take care of business. The newcomers to the Thunder squad responded to the task and bagged 10 points each in the third quarter, making the rest of the game an easy stroll.
“It’s challenging, but it’s something that, if we consider ourselves being a great team, becoming a great team, that’s a step we have to take,” – said Anthony. “Coming out in that third quarter, knowing that we can’t let up, learning how to take it up another level coming out of halftime — it’s something that we’re getting better at.“
In Jazz’s defense, they were without their star player Rudy Gobert and explosive rookie Donovan Mitchell. They were led by Rodney Hood, who scored 17 points.
Considered as one of the teams that could challenge the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference, the Thunder has done almost nothing to justify it. Entering in the game against the Jazz, they were at .500, but for the team with so much star power, that was considered bad. Wednesday’s game proved that the team has a great potential and showed what they can look like if everything is going their way. Now it’s on them to show that they can play like this when everything isn’t so smooth.