Thunder Crown Kings
Collin Cowherd says that NBA players will get bored during the regular season. He credits one of his sources in the association for telling him that. The 2019-2020 Thunder seemed to defy that observation, till Thursday night.
The Thunder did earn its fifth consecutive win 112-108. But, up until six minutes left to play in the third quarter, the Kings were making life tough.
Billy Donovan says he thought for the first 30 minutes the Kings were the aggressor out working Oklahoma City to get up by as many as 19. Then with about four minutes left to go in the third quarter, a double technical was called on Hamidou Diallo and Kent Bazemore.
From there, the Thunder would go on 11-2 to close out the third cutting the Kings lead to 82-81 heading into the final frame. Diallo was asked if his tech was the turning point in the game.
"I'm just trying to play basketball; we're not gonna take no crap as a team. They're trying to pick on one of my guys I'm gonna step in for em."..."I guess if that's what sparked us as a team, then that's what we need." The picking in question had to do with Chris Paul getting posted up by Bazemore.
Give Diallo credit for acting as the enforcer in that situation. Even if he was overreacting, you have to protect Paul at all costs.
The Thunder grabbed the lead for good with 4:49 left when Danilo Gallinari hit a 26-foot pull up jumper. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Dennis Schroder would turn the ball over on back to back possession with 20 seconds to go.
With the Thunder up 110-108, Buddy Hield fouled Paul, and he would finish things at the free-throw line.
The Kings may have been without point guard De'Aaron Fox due to lower abdominal tightness, but they were undefeated since the All-Star break. The win puts the Thunder in sole possession of 5th place in the western conference. Oklahoma City is also just a half-game behind Houston for the fourth seed.
The Thunder will be in Milwaukee to take on the 50-8 Bucks, catch all the action on ESPN starting at 7 pm.
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