scorecard | Peachtree rings
The Atlanta City Thunder was shaken on the way by the Atlanta Hawks, 142-126. A game after correcting enough of his defensive errors by defeating the Spurs, the Thunder showed little continuity in the game of a team of the Hawks who previously had 13-30, although with previous victories this season on the 76ers and the Nuggets .
The Thunder were led by Jerami Grant, who finished with 21 on 9-14 shots, and Steven Adams, who finished 7-7 and scored 16 points. Russell Westbrook finished with a solid 31 points on 10-21 shots, including 11-14 from the free throw line, to go along with 11 assists and 5 steals, but Paul George fought with his shot, hitting only 6-18 for 24 points, including 5-12 of three.
However, even respectable production numbers paled in comparison to what the juvenile Hawks could do against a Thunder defense, a defense so similar to my spaghetti colander that it helped make the Hawks children look like the Warriors. In general, the Hawks shot 62% for the game 18-37 of three, and scored 36 assists. Which essentially tells you everything you need to know about the defensive effort of the Thunder. They could not stop the Hawks inside (68 points in the paint) or outside (49% from three). They could not close the headlines, since John Collins opened the way with 26 of 12-14 shots, mostly in alleys and open platforms, and were injured by the bank, which combined for 47 points, led by Alex Len 24.  This is a difficult point: OKC gave 45 points in a quarter twice tonight (for the mathematical nerds, that's 90 points in half a game). And one of them was in the room, when they were surpassed by 19 (Hawks shot 70% in the fourth, 5-7 of three). Yes, they lost by 16 after leading by three at the end of the third to a team of 13 victories.
Here's another pain point: do you remember how outrageous the Spurs' offense was in that classic 2OT last week? The Spurs finished with an absurd 130 in regulation on their way to 154 points. Tonight? The Hawks hung 142 in regulation .
What about another? – OKC is 1-4 in his last five, yielding an average of 133 points per game in those 4 losses. If you remove the 2OT game from ex. gave up an average of 126, and all went to teams with lost records.
Last – Since Christmas Day, the Thunder are 5. -6, with 4 of those losses in teams that will probably be in the lottery.
In other words, it's fun to proclaim that the Thunder are the best defensive team in the league according to the metric you choose, but regardless of what the statistics say, they have been destroying for almost three straight weeks, and one or two quarters of doing well is not enough to make up for the quarters when they give almost any team in the league the free reign to create a differential of points that OKC, not a good offensive team, always struggles to compensate.
And maybe that's the most disappointing thing about tonight. The Hawks, who deserve all the credit, because they still had to do those shots although many were not in dispute, rely on their pace and their athletic ability to create margin. The Thunder simply can not play at that pace if they want to be able to configure their defense. As in the Wizards disaster, all too often they rushed into their offense and did not give their defense time to stop the other team.
OKC let the Hawks dictate the pace and they were badly hit by it.
Next game: vs Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, January 17 at 8:30 PM CST
p.s. But seriously, good hawks game. There are many promises there, I hope they remain entangled, and if I were following the other side, it would have been a fantastic trip to enjoy.