OKC Thunder Will Have to Tackle Troublesome Early Tip-Time In Game 3

The Oklahoma City Thunder have seen a mixed result in afternoon games this season and will need to clear that hurdle in Game 3.
Apr 24, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; The Oklahoma City Thunder huddle before the start of a
Apr 24, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; The Oklahoma City Thunder huddle before the start of a / Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout an 82-game season, storylines come and go on the winding road to the postseason. Stressful stretches, disastrous displays and small sample sizes often cause a ruckus.

One of the storylines that reached a fever pitch during the winter was the Thunder's lack of success in afternoon games. Despite rattling off 57 wins, a few midday beatdowns - and a matinee misadventure in the Motor City - left many wondering if the Bricktown boys were cut out for early tip-times.

That can be a problem in the postseason, especially in the opening rounds as the jam-packed weekend slates lead to early arrivals to the arena. As Oklahoma City boasts a 2-3 record in afternoon start times they will need to tackle this task in Game 3 of their opening series.

After taking a commanding 2-0 lead over the New Orleans Pelicans by holding serve in the Paycom Center, the Thunder see the series shift to New Orleans and the afternoon on Saturday for Game 3. Mark Daigneault discussed Oklahoma City's sunlight sorrows.

"We have a rhythm that we follow when we play the earlier games - I tend to not overcoach those things because I really don't know what the hell to say...We gotta play great defense, we gotta generate great shots, we gotta compete together. If it's 2:30 we have to do it at 2:30, if it's 7:00 we have to do it at 7:00. If it's 8:30, and I have to drink more coffee, we have to do it at 8:30," the Thunder bench boss said during Thursday's media availability.

Oklahoma City had everything working on Wednesday lighting up the scoreboard to the tune of 124 points and a blowout win. After limiting the Pelicans to 92-point outings in back-to-back affairs, the Thunder will hope to keep that momentum rolling on Bourbon street.

As a young team, not only will they be tasked with taking down their first road playoff game but will have to weather the storm of this irregular tip time.

Want to join the discussion? Like Inside the Thunder on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest Thunder news. You can also meet the team behind the coverage.

Rylan Stiles


Rylan Stiles is a credentialed media member covering the Oklahoma City Thunder. He hosts the Locked On Thunder Podcast, and is Lead Beat Writer for Inside the Thunder. Rylan is also an award-winning play-by-play broadcaster for the Oklahoma Sports Network.