GAME RECAP: THUNDER AT HAWKS


Paris Lawson

By Paris Lawson | Broadcast and Digital Reporter
okcthunder.com



The Big Picture

It was a tale of two halves in the Peach State as the Thunder fell to the Hawks 113-101. OKC shot out to a strong start offensively posting a season-high 60 first-half points thanks to a balanced scoring effort and high-level ball movement. The Thunder only trailed six points going into the half, but a lopsided third quarter opened the game up in the Hawks' favor as OKC was unable to close the gap in the final frame.


Moments from the 48

Big First-Half Numbers
Playing without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for the first time this season (right ankle sprain), the Thunder looked to get things done by committee offensively. That mentality was on display in the first half as the Thunder received scoring from 10 different players to put up a season-high 60 points over the first two frames. By the end of the night, 11 players scored for the Thunder and five players reached double-figures.

“It speaks to the connectedness of the group,” said Thunder assistant coach Dave Bliss. “it just it magnifies everybody's skills. That's kind of the great thing about passing and ball movement. Everybody wants says they want to do that, but it's not easy to do.”

It wasn’t until the third frame that the Hawks created significant separation on the scoreboard. Behind a 12-point quarter from Trae Young, the Hawks outscored OKC 27-11 to take a commanding lead heading into the final frame. Though the Thunder showed strongly executed plays in the final frame, the team was unable to string together enough possessions to shift momentum back in its favor in the fourth quarter.

“I thought we didn't necessarily make enough plays to win tonight on both ends,” said Bliss. “But I thought the execution was probably good enough to win. At the end of the day, we know we’ve got to put the work in and get better in all areas.”


Second Unit Consistency
Throughout the Thunder’s three-game road trip, one constant has been the scoring from its bench unit. As a collective, OKCs reserves backed up its 47-point performance against Boston on Saturday and poured in another 44 points on Monday compared to Atlanta’s 36. Ty Jerome led the reserves with 13 points to go along with four assists. The effort marked Jerome’s third consecutive game with 10 or more points.

“Ty is always ready,” said Thunder guard Lu Dort. “Every time he hears his name called, he'll be ready. That's one thing we don't need to worry about. He's just so confident, he knows he knows how to score and how to impact the team and I feel like this past couple games he did a great job of that.”

Thunder veteran Mike Muscala contributed efficient first half offense with nine points in eight minutes on 4-of-5 shooting from the field. Aleksej Pokuševski also added nine points to go alongside a career-high-tying 10 rebounds.



Giddey’s All-Around Game
With Gilgeous-Alexander out, Thunder rookie Josh Giddey had the challenge of taking on primary ball handling duties for the first time this season. By the end of the night, Giddey logged a well-rounded stat line of 15 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and two blocks.

“I thought Josh did a really good job of kind of controlling the game and calling the game,” said Thunder acting head coach Dave Bliss. “Atlanta got back pretty well tonight and when they did, he was able to get us into sets and get everybody organized. Showed some good poise there. So, credit to him for continuing to build that piece of his game.”

“For me, it’s a learning experience. It’s the first time I've played without him,” said Giddey. “I learned a lot. I think I'm growing at a steady pace. And I think until he gets back that it's going to continue to get better. I'm going to learn more things I'm going to adjust to the NBA style even more and hopefully things get better from here.”


The Last Word

Jeremiah Robinson-Earl on the lessons from the second half…
“It was more on the defensive end for us. I think we did a great job executing on the offensive end getting out and just getting into what we need to do, but we’re just continuing to get better and just communicating. I know we're young team we’re still learning through experience. It's a long season, but we're just going to get back to work and just worry about the next game. We’ve just got to keep to building from each night.”


What’s Next

After three games on the road, the Thunder will finally return home to Paycom Center for three games at home. OKC will face Utah on Wednesday and then welcome the Wizards the day after Thanksgiving.


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