OKC Thunder looked shellshocked during the loss on Saturday to the Rockets.
They couldn’t hit shots, and it seemed like the Rockets couldn’t miss. James Harden was showing the world that Lu Dort couldn’t stop him. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shied away from the moment. Danilo Gallinari couldn’t get anything going. And to top it all off, the only semblance of an offense they had was Dennis Schröder who was ejected in the 3rd got for a low blow to PJ Tucker on an illegal screen.
Thunder ended up losing 114-80, with close to nothing going right for them.
Chris Paul told the team, “It’s just one game.” Lick your wounds and take care of business in Monday’s elimination game.
Wouldn’t you know it; they did just that.
The 1st quarter was a back and fourth affair that ended with the Thunder trailing by 1. Dort had 3 fouls, and Harden was relishing. Hope looked dim.
The Thunder found their offense a bit in the 2nd, and yet still found themselves trailing by 3 after Eric Gordon hit a demoralizing (and at this point uncharacteristic) shoot from the corner 3 spot as the buzzer sounded.
The 3rd quarter was when it looked like the Thunder were just going to roll over and die, but then Gallo’s shot came alive. Gallo went on to score 10 straight points before he grabbed a breather on the bench, and let none other than Lu Dort take over with 8 straight unanswered points to close the quarter and give the Thunder a slight 2 point advantage going into the 4th.
Then Chris Paul happened. He hit two quick midrange pull-ups as well as a 3 before you knew what was happening.
Disaster seemed to be looming however, when a charge call on Dennis Schröder prompted Chris Paul to “punch the air” and the referees felt like that warranted a technical foul.
(The very same refs that let PJ Tucker flail his arms like a toddler throwing a hissy fit all game without the same action but hey I digress)
With Harden nailing the technical free throw, putting the Rockets up 6 with 4:19 to go all looked grim.
But Chris Paul happened again, and this time he was all riled up.
He hit two quick 3’s immediately after that to tie the game. Including just an absolutely disrespectful sequence in which he hunted the switch to get Robert Covington to guard him, unleashed a flurry of dribbles to freeze him, and pulled up a nasty (albeit contested) stepback 3 in RoCo’s mouth. So nasty he tapped RoCo’s butt to let him know he played good D, just not good enough.
A couple Russell Westbrook turnovers, and 4 free throws from Gallo and CP3 and just like that, the series that everyone wanted to see is headed to game 7 Wednesday night.
Everyone has been trying to write off the Thunder all season long. From the second Paul George and Russ were traded.
Chris Paul said it best to anyone that would listen to him on his way to the locker room.
“All we needed was a chance.”
Now, they have a chance to shock the world… again.