The Oklahoma City Thunder are the epitome of inconsistency. Their play has fluctuated all season long, going on stretches where they look unstoppable, only to follow them up with games in which they barely looked like a playoff team. Even Paul George himself has been mostly up-and-down, at one point playing his way into the MVP conversation before ending the regular season in a serious shooting slump.
The playoffs were a good way to inspire the team to get their act together. They cannot afford the same inconsistency against the 3rd seeded Blazers.
Unfortunately, OKC failed to pull themselves out of the gutter in Game 1, mostly due to Paul George. In the 104-99 loss, he shot 33% from the field and 26% from beyond the arc, with 4 turnovers and 6 fouls in the game.
It was an abysmal display of efficiency, to say the least. The problem may actually stem from a banged-up shoulder, the same shoulder that apparently kept him from even lifting his arm a few days back.
“I thought we got great looks,” said George after the game via Thunder Wire. “Great looks all night. For me, it’s just rhythm. Four days ago I couldn’t even lift my shoulder. Fast forward to today, it’s the first day I shot the ball. Tomorrow I’ll get shots up, get back in tune. We’ll try and get the same looks that we got tonight.”
Paul George says a couple days ago he couldn’t even “lift his shoulder” and today was the first time he’d shot a ball since the Rockets game.
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) April 14, 2019
If this issue lingers, it could seriously hinder George’s game the rest of the series. The 6x All-Star has been crucial for the Thunder since his arrival in 2017. Without him at the top of his game, this series will become significantly harder. There is a serious chance they get bounced.
OKC, who was eliminated by the Jazz in the first round last year, obviously had higher hopes for their run in 2019. It would be a brutal and devastating circumstance if they were to go home early again.
As they prepare for Game 2 on Thursday, they will do everything they can to avoid going back to Chesapeake Energy Arena in an 0-2 hole. But they hope, and fate evidently lies in the status of Paul George’s shoulder.