by Michael Doutey
The Oklahoma City Thunder pummeled their way to an impressive 110-83 win in the Motor City, dominating the Detroit Pistons. This win is really impressive, not only because of the margin of victory, but because the Pistons were coming in on a five game win streak that was highlighted by a nine point win their last time out over the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors had just welcomed back Steph Curry too.
The Thunder didn’t light the world on fire with their offense. At times, they were downright sloppy. But the Thunder played stifling defense. The Pistons could hardly breathe. Outside of Blake Griffin, who really only had a decent game, no one else had a respectable night for Detroit.
The Thunder earned their 15th win of the season and get a three-game road trip started off in impressive fashion. Here are tonight’s five observations.
ONE: Third Quarter Domination
When the third quarter came last season, Thunder fans prepared for a a letdown. The Thunder seemed to always blow leads or allow teams back into games. That has been far from the case this season. Tonight, the Thunder demolished the Pistons in the third quarter, 37-19. That has almost become the norm for OKC this season. The Thunder blitzed their way to another win and did so by stomping the Pistons in the quarter. This trend might be the biggest indicator that this team is so far away from the team they were a season ago. But this was an impressive win in impressive fashion in another impressive third quarter demolition.
TWO: Steven Adams Owned the Night
Adams didn’t just own Andre Drummond tonight. He obliterated him. Adams scored a game-high 21 points on 7-8 shooting, went 7-7 from the free throw line, grabbed six boards and had two blocks. He did all that while holding Drummond to zero offensive rebounds and just 13 points. He made him irrelevant from the game and Adams just went about his business. He was tremendous tonight on both ends of the floor.
THREE: Nerlens Noel Was Awesome Too
Noel was all over the floor in this one. He was active on offense, scoring 12 points on 6-9 shooting. He scored on put backs, lobs, midrange jumpers and one impressive driving dunk. But he was really active on defense. He had two steals and two blocks while bringing down eight rebounds, three of which came on offense. At times, he was the best player on the floor when both second units were out there. The Thunder are very fortunate to have Noel and he helps take this team to another level.
FOUR: Defense, Defense and More Defense
The Thunder defense was incredible tonight. They got going early, holding the Pistons to 40 first half points, the lowest point total for Detroit in the first half this season. OKC had 10 steals and eight blocks. The Thunder held the Pistons to 33 percent shooting and 6-32 from three. The Thunder have the best defensive rating in the NBA and OKC flexed their defensive muscles in this one, completely shutting down Detroit.
FIVE: Great Start to the Three Game Road Trip
The Thunder were tied for the best record in the NBA in the month of November with a 12-3 record. The Thunder have a much different schedule in December. The Thunder have five of their 15 games at home. That means the Thunder will be on the road the majority of the month. OKC has three away games this week and they got off to a great start. Now the Thunder will play a really pesky Brooklyn Nets team on Wednesday and will finish off the week in Chicago. But once the trip ends, the level of competition really ramps up. The Thunder really need a 3-0 week this week before facing Utah, New Orleans, Denver, the Clippers, Minnesota, Houston among others the rest of the month.
The Thunder advance to 15-7 on the season with the win tonight. OKC will be in Brooklyn on Wednesday night. Tip is set for 6:30 inside the Barclays Center.