Five takeaways from the Thunder's 140-111 win against the Hawks
The Thunder claimed a 140-111 victory over the Hawks Friday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. OKC outscored Atlanta 36-21 in the fourth quarter to complete the blowout.
The Thunders' 140 points were a season high. Here are five things to know about OKC's victory:
Two and a half minutes into the game, it looked like the Thunder was on its way toward a blowout win. The Thunder was missing Steven Adams (left ankle sprain), Terrance Ferguson (personal reasons) and Abdel Nader (left ankle sprain). But it was also facing the team with the worst record in the Eastern Conference (11-35).
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OKC opened the game on a 10-2 run. But its 3-of-4 shooting cooled as the game progressed. By the end of the third quarter, the Thunder needed a Chris Paul buzzer beater to take a 33-30 lead. The Thunder’s largest first-half lead was 11 points, before it ran away with the game in the second half.
Limiting Trae Young early
Thunder fans greeted former Sooners star Trae Young with an ovation before the game. But Luguentz Dort gave Young less of a warm welcome.
With Terrance Ferguson out for personal reasons, Dort drew the start and the Young defensive assignment. It was Dort’s third consecutive start and his first start at Chesapeake Energy Arena. With Dort and then Hamidou Diallo guarding him, Young missed his first six shots.
He finished the game shooting 7-of-20 but still managed to score 26 points, thanks to 10 made free throws. With 16 assists, Young set a new season high.
Young missed the Hawks previous game with a right thigh contusion.
Young gives Paul a piece of his own medicine
It was a move Thunder fans have seen almost every game this season. But this time the roles were reversed.
With about a minute left in the first half, Young faced Chris Paul, a player whose jersey he had worn as a child. But now, 14 years later, Young swung the ball from one side of his body to the other, catching Paul’s arm as he flailed. A whistle sounded.
Young had dared to use one of Paul’s signature moves against him. And, with the Hawks in the bonus, he got two free throws out of it.
Muscala turns around 3-point shooting
Facing the team he started his NBA career with, OKC center Mike Muscala shot 4-of-6 from 3-point range.
He and Thunder guard Dennis Schroder both spent the first five seasons of their careers in Atlanta. With about three minutes left in the third quarter, they showed off the chemistry they had built up over those years. Schroder bounced a pass out to Muscala, who drained a 3-pointer for his fourth make from behind the arc. The Thunder took a 92-86 lead.
Muscala is having his worst 3-point shooting season since 2015-15, his third year in the NBA. But in the past two games he’s shot a combined 8-of-10 from deep.
OKC’s staggering 140 points came out of a balanced scoring effort. Seven players scored in double figures. . Three scored over 20 points: Danilo Gallianri (25), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (24) and Dennis Schorder (21).
The Thunder shot 58.1 percent from the field and 56 percent from 3-point range.
OKC topped its previous season high with a free throw by Darius Bazley. The Thunder's previous season high of 139 came in an overtime win against Minnesota on Dec. 6.