Really, the Thunder excelled only in one quarter in that Clippers game: the third, which OKC dominated to the tune of 39-10. For most of the remaining 36 minutes, you could be forgiven for shaking your head and muttering “Meh” under your breath. There’s a lot of meh still hovering over this club: down 48-44 at the half, they found themselves 19 points behind the Charlotte Hornets halfway through the third. Much meh surrounded the three-point arc, from behind which OKC took 37 shots, making only eight. The Hornets weren’t much better, but more might have been expected of Charlotte, which was one of the best long-ball teams in the Association. And more was expected of Kemba Walker, one of only a handful of players averaging 30 points a game; he churned out only three in the first half. He finished with a still-respectable 21, as did second-year guard Malik Monk. The real shocker, though, was seeing Tony Parker (!) in Hornets garb, coming off the bench with 17 points. Still, the Thunder pulled this one off, dragging their dismal 30-percent shooting up to the lower 40s, and claiming a 111-107 win, their third after four opening losses.
If we’re going to harp on treys, we can suggest that they let Alex Abrines shoot them all: he hit five of ten, versus zero for whatever from Russell Westbrook, Patrick Patterson, and especially Paul George, who produced ten long-distance bricks but who still managed a double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds.) Westbrook wound up with 29 points and 10 assists, missing the triple-double by two boards. The Hornets did have an edge in rebounding (51-49); uncharacteristically, they turned the ball over 17 times. (I’d have believed 10; it was a little harder to believe OKC with only 10 turnovers.)
Tomorrow night in the District of Columbia, where Scott Brooks’ Wizards are an unlikely 1-6 so far. Then again, who would have figured the Thunder for 3-4 at this point?