Thunder

3 Takeaways From OKC’s First Two Restart Games

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The Oklahoma City Thunder have kicked off their first two games of the NBA restart with a 1-1 record, defeating the Utah Jazz 110-94 in their Orlando opener but falling to the Denver Nuggets 121-113. While the Thunder have already clinched a playoff spot, these games are extremely important in terms of seeding in an extremely tight Western Conference.

Here are three major takeaways from Oklahoma City’s first two games in Orlando.

1. Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander came to play

Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander appear to have not lost a step, even after a four-month hiatus from basketball. Over the Thunder’s first two restart games, the two guards have combined for 84 points (51% FG), 23 assists, 16 rebounds and five steals.

 

OKC must rely on both Paul and Gilgeous-Alexander to continue playing at a high level since they will be without Sixth Man of the Year candidate Dennis Schröder, who left the bubble to attend the birth of his second child, for the foreseeable future.

2. Abdel Nader has provided a spark off the bench

Abdel Nader has been the Thunder’s most efficient player off the bench. The six-foot-five small forward has only played a total of 16 minutes in the team’s opening two games in Orlando, but he has been extremely efficient, dropping 15 points with very few misses (6/7 FG, 3/4 3PT). That is nearly a point per minute played.

With Nader providing instant offense off the bench, expect him to see more minutes and play an increased role in Oklahoma City’s upcoming games.

3. Nerlens Noel is bringing the energy the Thunder need

In 35 minutes off the bench in Oklahoma City’s first two games, Nerlens Noel has brought top-notch energy and is always in the right place on both ends of the floor. Offensively, Noel has dominated the glass, pulling down five offensive rebounds which have given the Thunder numerous second-chance opportunities. Defensively, Noel has been an elite rim protector, tallying seven blocks while pulling down eight defensive rebounds.

Follow us on Twitter @ThunderLead for the latest Thunder news and insight.

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About James Mueller

James Mueller is a current student at the University of Houston who is majoring in both Sports Administration and Journalism. James has been passionate about sports his entire life and has extensive knowledge about all the major sports.

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