Thunder Looks For Bounce-Back Win Over Rockets In Game 2

Monday, April 17th 2017, 4:44 pm
By: Brett Coppenbarger

Following a blowout loss in Game 1, the Thunder looks to bounce back against the Rockets in Game 2 on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

Related: Rockets Dominate Thunder To Take 1-0 Series Lead

Here are a few things to know about the matchup:

Will The Thunder Continue To Switch On Screens?

Much of the criticism surrounding the Thunder’s Sunday night loss centered around Billy Donovan’s unsuccessful game plan to switch on screens. Whenever James Harden would call for a screen, instead of defensive stopper Andre Roberson fighting through and sticking with him, OKC’s bigs were stuck out on an island trying to defend Houston’s playmaker.

Not only did guys like Steven Adams, Taj Gibson and Enes Kanter struggle to defend Harden on switches, but they were away from the basket and unable to haul in rebounds at a consistent rate. Despite being the top-ranked rebounding team in the regular season, the Thunder were outrebounded 62-48 while the Rockets notched a whopping 62 points in the paint. While Adams, Gibson and Kanter combined for nine rebounds, Houston point guard Patrick Beverley brought in 10 rebounds by himself.

Despite the lack of success, Donovan doesn’t sound like a coach who’s ready to abandon his game plan.

“Defensively I actually thought our first-shot defense was pretty good, now there were some things late where I thought we gave up too much at the rim, the deep paint was a problem for us,” Donovan said. “I think we did not make good enough decisions in terms of having enough resistance at the basket, some may have been them concerned about stopping the three, but I think we can do better in those areas than we did certainly tonight.”

Will The Real Victor Oladipo Please Stand Up?

After leading all Thunder players not named Russell Westbrook in scoring during the regular season, Victor Oladipo played one of his worst games in a Thunder uniform on Sunday night. Oladipo shot 1-for-12 from the field for six points while missing all four of his shots from behind the arc.

Since he played his first three seasons in Orlando, this was Oladipo’s first taste of the postseason, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that he was probably fighting through some nerves throughout the game. That being said, the Thunder doesn’t have time for that.

Seeing Oladipo is one of the few Thunder players who can create his own shot, OKC desperately needs the former Indiana Hoosier to step up if this first round series is even going to be competitive.


Game 2 Is Crucial

While the series won’t be won or lost in Game 2, the vibe around the matchup would drastically shift if the Thunder was able to steal a win on Wednesday night.

Right now it feels as if the Rockets hold a huge advantage after their blowout win on Sunday, but the Thunder would possess the homecourt advantage with a win in Game 2. The Thunder suffered a similar loss in the first game of last year’s second round series against San Antonio, but squeaked out a win in the next game before going on to win the series in six.