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3 Takeaways From the OKC Thunder’s Dominant Game 2 Win Against New Orleans



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Oklahoma Metropolis acquired right into a rhythm early and carried that momentum for 48 minutes.

The Thunder beat the New Orleans Pelicans 124-92 to take a 2-0 lead. The Thunder rode huge nights from Chet Holmgren and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who mixed for 59 factors.

Oklahoma Metropolis struggled to regulate the glass within the opening minutes however managed to out-rebound New Orleans 37-35. New Orleans additionally dedicated 17 turnovers, resulting in simple alternatives for Oklahoma Metropolis.

Each Thunder starter scored in double figures, together with 21 factors from Jalen Williams. He helped break the sport open within the second half, scoring 15 after halftime.

After a troublesome offensive night time in Recreation 1, the Thunder shot 59% from the ground and 48.3% from 3-point vary. Wednesday’s win additionally gave Oklahoma Metropolis its first 2-0 collection lead because the 2013 first spherical towards the Houston Rockets.

Let’s dive into three classes that may be discovered from yesterday’s recreation.

Apr 24, 2024; Oklahoma Metropolis, Oklahoma, USA; New Orleans Pelicans ahead Brandon Ingram (14) drives

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports activities

Lu Dort is constructed for playoff basketball

The playoffs decelerate and are about physicality, toughness and protection. Contemplating these cliches maintain some fact, it must be no shock that Dort excels as a 16-game participant.

Dort has pressured the Pelicans into robust pictures and unhealthy selections in each video games. Brandon Ingram has been affected most by Dort’s depth, taking pictures 10-of-27 via two video games. 

In Recreation 2, Dort drew offensive fouls and wreaked havoc going round screens, which helped Oklahoma Metropolis rating 22 factors off turnovers. He was additionally a big a part of the group’s offensive assault.

Dort made a game-high 4 3-pointers on his technique to 15 factors.

OKC can stay with Valanciunas’ manufacturing inside

Jonas Valanciunas posted a gaudy stat line in Recreation 1, with 13 factors and 20 rebounds. That included 9 offensive rebounds, which was seen as a significant space of concern going into Recreation 2.

Within the opening minutes of Recreation 2, Valanciunas imposed his will and scored New Orleans’ first 11 factors. Nevertheless, Oklahoma Metropolis was greater than prepared to stay with Valanciunas post-ups creating nearly all of New Orleans’ offense.

Valanciunas completed the sport with 19 factors and 7 rebounds whereas turning it over twice. The Pelicans have been outscored by 14 factors in his minutes however solely by seven factors in Larry Nance Jr.‘s minutes.

Nance has been a extra versatile defender towards the Thunder, however along with his damage within the third quarter, his standing for the remainder of the collection may very well be in jeopardy.

Gordon Hayward shouldn’t be playoff materials

Getting back from an damage after the Thunder traded for him, Hayward understandably struggled in his first few video games. Nevertheless, he seemingly has not overcome these early points.

The Thunder traded for Hayward to be the kind of participant who might win 1 / 4 within the playoffs. Contemplating that concept comes from his scoring capacity, Hayward posting zero factors in two video games is regarding.

After not taking pictures in Recreation 1, Hayward missed a mid-range jumper on his solely shot in Recreation 2. The Thunder have higher, extra versatile defenders than Hayward, so his minutes don’t make sense with out offensive manufacturing.

Regardless of having comparatively current and impactful playoff minutes, Hayward may by no means be that participant for the Thunder.

With a 2-0 lead, Oklahoma Metropolis can put a stranglehold on the collection in New Orleans. No group has ever come again from an 0-3 deficit, and Mark Daigneault’s insistence on a 0-0 mindset might assist his group take a commanding lead.

The Thunder shall be in New Orleans for the following two video games, with Recreation 3 tipping off Saturday afternoon.

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