Seemed like a program turning point win, then the loss to a horrible Texas team. But in the end it was a season changing game because of what Baker Mayfield, Sterling Shepard, and the OU defense showed coming back from 17-3 in the fourth period. No Charles Walker today. But good teams always find a way to have someone else step up. Should be a very competitive game today. Two good teams. Two good QBs. Boomer Sooner!
Great video if you’ve never seen it.
Guys my age missed Bud Wilkinson and just caught the tail-end of his successor, Gomer Jones. But as a kid it then went for me in this order, the one season of Jim McKenzie, the Chuck Fairbanks era with the Game of the Century, then the incredible run of Barry Switzer at Oklahoma. An incredible era of college football which ran from 1973-1989. Whether you loved OU football or hated them with a passion—it was an era of college football which always elicited passion one way or another.
OU playing Clemson tomorrow in one national semi-final. Michigan St. vs Alabama in the other. Never thought OU would be at this point after the horrific loss to the Texas Longhorns, but they hung in there and tomorrow’s game completely overshadows the Thunder-Phoenix Sun game. No Thunder Preview tomorrow. OU takes center stage on New Years Eve at okcthunderground.com for a day. THERE’S ONLY ONE OKLAHOMA.
OKC Thunder 131 — Milwaukee Bucks 123
Piece by piece we’re getting answers as to what kind of defensive team Oklahoma City is becoming as the calendar inches toward circa 2016. Unfortunately–the answer so far isn’t a pleasant one.
While Cleveland was beating Denver on the road by a 93-87 count, OKC’s Thunder allowed Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo to go off for a combined 63 points at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on a cold Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.
Put that in perspective if you might. Durant and Westbrook played well offensively, yet were outscored 63-53 by the Milwaukee Buck duo on this night. I think it would be incorrect to write Durant and Westbrook carried OKC to another win over a bad team to pad their record to 22-10.
Instead, I’m going to write Enes Kanter and rookie Cam Payne both turned in excellent performances off OKC’s bench to save the Thunder from what could have been a very bad loss as the Thunder had no answer to defend Khris Middleton. None.
Cam Payne took all of slumping DJ Augustin’s minutes in this game and made the most of his opportunity. In 16 minutes of play, Payne scored a career high to date 16 points and had three assists. Leading 92-88 heading into the fourth period—Donovan went with a lineup of Collison, Kanter, Payne, Waiters, and Morrow. I closed my eyes and prayed…. literally, but on this night this bench group not only held the lead, but expanded on it.
Enes Kanter was excellent as well scoring 23 points and grabbing 8 rebounds, but I’m going with Cam Payne as my No. 1 Star of the Game.
Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka, and Morrow all scored in double figures. Morrow scored ten points in sixteen minutes going 3-5 from beyond the arc hitting some big threes when it mattered.
Nick Collison was okay. Roberson and Adams didn’t do much for me. Steven Adams needs to pick it up. Not trying to be snarky to Kiwi Nation, but it was his third consecutive uninspiring performance in a row.
Dion Waiters had another bad night. Maybe playing the Lakers twice last week was too much. Maybe being in the midst of that Laker dumpster fire piece of shit team twice in the same week broke him again and regressed his game. I don’t know. But I know this—when he blindly threw the ball over his back in the first half which led to a Buck fast break basket…I would have benched him for the night. If Anthony Morrow takes some of his minutes moving forward–I’m okay with it. That singular play put me over the edge and almost caused me to throw a book at my sixty inch flat screen, and to be frank, while I enjoy writing these recaps–shattering my flat screen wasn’t part of the plan.
Didn’t even bother to listen to the Fox telecast post game show because I’m sure the narrative was Middleton and Antetokounmpo are now the second coming of Jordan and Pippen.
OKC improves to 22-10 with the win.
So…the glass half full/ half empty take in closing. Billy Donovan appears to have found him a ballplayer in one Cameron Payne from Murray State. But in the process has discovered Kyle Singler, DJ Augustin, and Dion Waiters might not be able to play important roles in this Thunder season.
Phoenix Suns in town on New Year’s Eve.