OKC Thunder: Top 20 moments from 2019-20 season

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OKC Thunder: Top 20 moments from 2019-20 season

Sat, 09/19/2020 - 15:27
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Sep. 13--The Thunder’s season stretched from late October 2019 to the early days of September 2020 with a four-month break in between.

Next season will begin no sooner than Christmas Day, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, and the draft is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 18.

Before diving into the uncertainties of the offseason, it’s time to look back at the last year of Thunder basketball.

Here are the top-20 moments from the Thunder’s 2019-20 season:

Nov. 25, 2019: First road win

The Thunder overcame a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Warriors to notch its first road win of the season.

It was the beginning of a remarkable stretch of away games. After starting 0-6 on the road, the Thunder -- in true road games before the stoppage -- won 20 of its last 25 road games. OKC won a team-record nine straight road games from Jan. 7 to Feb. 25.

Dec. 6, 2019: Hail Mary

Karl-Anthony Towns made his free throw, and that gave the Thunder a chance.

With 1.1 seconds left and the Thunder trailing by two points, Steven Adams threw a perfect Hail Mary pass to Dennis Schröder that nearly traveled the length of the court.

Schröder made a spectacular one-handed catch, and flipped in a layup as time expired.

The Thunder beat the Timberwolves in overtime. In a season filled with improbable wins, none was more dramatic.

Dec. 16, 2019: Chicago comeback

The Thunder outscored the Bulls 60-38 in the second half to cap a 26-point comeback. It was the largest home comeback win in Thunder history.

Two days later, the Thunder completed a 24-point comeback against the Grizzlies.

The Thunder became the only team in the last 20 years to overcome back-to-back deficits of at least 24 points.

Dec. 18, 2019: Suit up

Adams entered the arena wearing a navy suit and a tweed flat cap. Adams, who regularly wears camouflage and sandals, wasn’t the only one in business attire.

Schröder, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Nerlens Noel wore tan suits, and Chris Paul and Darius Bazley sported pinstripes. The whole team was suited up for the Wednesday night game against the Grizzlies.

The new suits were a gift from Paul. He brought in tailors and had the whole team fitted.

Dec. 22, 2019: George returns

Paul George received a warm welcome as a member of the Clippers in his first game back in Oklahoma City.

George scored 18 points, and Gilgeous-Alexander scored a career-high 32 points against his former team. The Thunder beat the Clippers 118-112.

Jan. 9, 2020: Westbrook returns

Russell Westbrook, for the first time, arrived at Chesapeake Energy Arena as an opponent.

The 11-year Thunder star scored 34 points against his former team.

It was the perfect night for Thunder fans. Westbrook put on a show in his return, and the Thunder thumped the Rockets 113-92.

Jan. 13, 2020: 20-20-10

Gilgeous-Alexander’s first career triple-double was historic.

The sophomore guard recorded 20 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists against the Timberwolves.

He joined Westbrook as the only guard with a 20-point, 20-rebound triple double in the last 30 seasons.

Feb. 6, 2020: Thunder stands pat

The Thunder and Heat were reportedly discussing a deadline trade involving Danilo Gallinari, but the veteran forward stayed put and the Thunder’s roster remained intact.

Feb. 13, 2020: Adams for 3

It took Adams seven seasons to drain a 3-pointer, but his first make was worth the wait.

With 3.3 seconds left before halftime at New Orleans, Adams inbounded the ball to Paul, who passed it back to Adams. The Thunder center was well beyond the half-court line when he stepped into a one-handed heave.

All it took was a flick of the wrist. Adams celebrated the shot with a shimmy.

Feb. 16, 2020: Paul dunks

Paul officially had zero dunks this season, but the 35-year-old guard did record a memorable slam in the All-Star Game in Chicago.

Westbrook threw a perfect lob to Paul, who finished the alleyoop and did a chin-up on the rim.

It was the 10th All-Star game for Paul, and his first since 2016.

Jan. 20, 2020: Dort’s first start

Luguentz Dort made his first career start at Houston. Still a two-way contract player at the time, Dort drew the James Harden assignment.

Foreshadowing the trouble Dort would give Harden in the playoffs, Harden shot just 9-of-29 overall and 1-of-17 from 3-point range.

The Thunder beat the Rockets 112-107 as Dort drew a crucial charge against Harden late in the game.

March 8, 2020: Stealing win against Celtics

Paul and Schröder trapped Celtics point guard Kemba Walker, and Schröder swiped the ball and finished a go-ahead layup.

The Thunder’s 105-104 win at Boston was one of its best victories of the season, and it happened to be OKC’s last game before the season was suspended.

The Thunder overcame an 18-point deficit with Gilgeous-Alexander sidelined with a right hip contusion.

March 11, 2020: The stoppage

Sports were brought to a halt, and all other normal aspects of life soon followed suit.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, and the Thunder-Jazz game in Oklahoma City was postponed seconds before tip-off.

At 7:37 p.m., it was announced that the game had been postponed “due to unforeseen circumstances.”

It marked the beginning of an almost five-month break between games.

June 24, 2020: Dort signs extension

Dort leveraged his two-way contract into a four-year standard deal worth $5.4 million.

Dort traveled to Orlando for the restart with a full-time roster spot.

July 24, 2020: Roberson plays

Andre Roberson received a standing ovation from the Thunder bench when he checked in midway through the third quarter.

Though just a scrimmage, it was Roberson’s first game in 909 days.

The hiatus gave Roberson the extra time he needed to return from a series of knee injuries that began when he ruptured the patellar tendon in his left knee in January 2018.

Aug. 1, 2020: Thunder-Jazz at last

The Thunder’s season started with the Jazz, was postponed prior to playing the Jazz, and it fittingly restarted in Disney World with a game against the Jazz.

OKC beat Utah 110-94 to open play in the bubble.

Aug. 12, 2020: Bazley’s breakout

Bazley enjoyed a bubble breakout.

The rookie forward scored at least 20 points in three straight seeding games from Aug. 9 to Aug. 12. Bazley shot 12-of-20 from 3-point range during that stretch.

Aug. 22, 2020: Game 3

Game 3 was a must-win for the Thunder after falling into an 0-2 hole.

Gilgeous-Alexander hit a corner 3-pointer to put the Thunder ahead 104-103 with 13.1 seconds left. The Thunder went on to beat the Rockets 119-107 in overtime.

OKC’s 15-3 overtime advantage was the largest overtime margin in a playoff game in the shot clock era.

Aug. 26, 2020: Walkout

The Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. The Thunder and Rockets were prepared to join the Bucks in the walkout before their Game 5 matchup, and the NBA quickly announced that all games were postponed.

The playoffs resumed that weekend after several meetings between players, owners and the league.

Paul played a key role in the discussions as president of the National Basketball Players Association.

Sept. 2, 2020: Game 7

The Thunder fell to the Rockets 104-102 in Game 7 of a thrilling series.

Dort became a household name thanks to his defense all series on Harden, but it was Dort’s offense that was the surprising story of Game 7.

The undrafted rookie scored 30 points and shot 6-of-12 from 3-point range in the loss.