OKC Beats ATL – By the Numbers
The Thunder rallied with a strong second quarter, shutting down the Atlanta Hawks’ lob game and haranguing the Hawks into just 30-percent shooting from 3-point range. On offense, Head Coach Mark Daigneault’s squad sprayed the ball around, played with excellent tempo and kept the Hawks on their heels on the way to a 118-109 home win.
Crunching the numbers.— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) February 27, 2021
A deeper look into last night's stats
Free throws attempted by Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, who came into the game averaging 10.2 free throw attempts per game, 3rd most in the NBA
“A lot of good scorers in this league generate points and rhythm like that,” said Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. “We just didn’t want them to have too many trips to the free throw line. That was a big emphasis.”
Uniforms worn by the Thunder on the night
Earlier this season when the uniforms for tonight’s game were selected, the Thunder as the home team got to select its uniforms first as is standard NBA procedure. For this game, the Thunder chose its sunset uniforms. The Hawks followed suit, choosing their red uniforms. There was a glitch in the NBA’s review system, which allowed that closely hued uniform pairing, with the sunset and red clashing inside Chesapeake Energy Arena and on the Fox Sports Oklahoma television broadcast. The league requested a uniform change at halftime, but the Hawks only had their red uniforms on the road trip, so the Thunder offered to quickly switch to their white uniforms at halftime.
Referees on the floor during the game
Typically NBA games are officiated by three referees, but tonight Nick Buchert was not able to work the game due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Curtis Blair and Bennie Adams handled the game as a two-man crew, helping the teams navigate the 48 minutes with just 30 total fouls called and 35 total free throw attempts.
Players who scored in double figures for the Thunder
That’s the 12th game with six players in double figures this season for OKC
Assists in the game for Ty Jerome, the most in a debut for any Thunder player
Within the first hour of the Thunder’s first training camp practice, second-year guard Ty Jerome went down with an ankle injury. It was a tough rehab back into playing condition for Jerome, so the Thunder utilized its G-League squad, the OKC Blue, to help him get back into game shape. After playing in 9 games for the Blue down in the G-League Bubble in Orlando, Jerome re-joined the Thunder on Thursday and seamlessly joined the Thunder rotation, as he added 9 points and 5 rebounds to his assist total.
“Ty is a basketball player. By that I mean you can stick him anywhere with any lineup and he’s gonna mesh well,” said Gilgeous-Alexander. “He can shoot, pass, put it on the floor, do so many things that it's easy for him to blend in and look good. He really elevated our played I think tonight, moving the ball. He had great pace, made shots, and overall had a good night.”
“He did a great job of just plugging in. That’s always a challenge,” said Daigneault. “That’s a testament to our holistic development and our development program.”
Players who hit a 3-pointer in the game
That’s the same number of players who entered the game for the Thunder on the night too.
Assists for rookie Théo Maledon in the game, with just one turnover
Those 12 assists tied a Thunder rookie record set by Russell Westbrook and were also the most by any NBA rookie in a game this season. Maledon’s smooth, patient, never-harried style has been a marvel to watch given his age (19) and relative lack of NBA experience. Yet in his 13th career start, Maledon was extra aggressive as he found teammates for easy buckets.
“It felt great,” said Maledon. “I really tried to be aggressive. I felt like we could play in transition. I tried to push the ball as much as possible and it opened up a lot of wide open teammates.”
“None of the passes were surprising because he had that when we drafted him,” said Daigneault. I’ve talked about him playing more aggressively, hitting the gas. He’s had little flickers of that through the course of the season but I thought tonight he played in that mode. It created a lot of advantages for him.”
The rookie came to PLAY tonight #Thunder guard Théo Maledon speaks with @nickgallo22 on the big win against Atlanta, where he tied Russell Westbrook for the most assists (12) in a single game by a rookie in Thunder history!@okcthunder | #ThunderUp pic.twitter.com/8L0ciZGuai— FOX Sports Oklahoma (@FOXSportsOK) February 27, 2021
Shooting numbers (16-28 FG) by the bench in tonight’s game
The second unit was led by Kenrich Williams’ 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting, with Mike Muscala adding 10 points as well.
Points for Darius Bazley in the game, to go along with 12 rebounds for his eighth career double-double
Bazley showed great resilience to bounce back from an 0-for-8 shooting night on Wednesday against San Antonio and provided the exclamation point on the game with a drive from the left side that ended with a double-clutch, two-handed slam dunk. That play forced an Atlanta timeout and caused an eruption from the Thunder bench.
“I call him a freak of nature, but he’s just a freak athlete. He can do so many things in the air,” said Gilgeous-Alexander. “He just made a regular basketball play for Baze, which is kind of crazy.”
Total assists for the Thunder on the night, one shy of a season-high
“The great thing is that everybody is participating,” said Maledon. “Everybody is sharing and that’s what makes offense fun and that’s what makes basketball fun overall.”