Oklahoma City Thunder head coach billy donovan is looking to polish his team’s rough edges despite an encouraging 116-108 Game 1 win over the Utah Jazz on Sunday night.
The Thunder benefitted largely from a hot-shooting night from Paul George, who led the team with 36 points on 13-of-20 shooting and 8-of-11 from deep — picking up where he left off in Wednesday’s 40-point shooting display against the Memphis Grizzlies to close out the regular season.
Donovan’s emphasis will strike transition defense, some long rebounds the Thunder allowed the Jazz to have on Sunday, inconsistent pick-and-roll coverage was and lack of on-ball containment.
“A lot of times when you make shots, things get masked,” Donovan said, according to ESPN’s Royce Young.
Fine-tuning this team will be of utmost importance with even tougher opponents awaiting in the upcoming stages of this brutal Western Conference postseason.
While the Thunder have the talent edge with three All-Star-caliber players on the team, the Jazz are disciplined and boast the best defensive lineup in the league, capable of stifling a good night of shooting at any given day.
George’s hip injury is certainly a pivotal point of concern, as the All-Star forward shined on both ends of the court, taking away a dangerous Joe Ingles, who has become a facilitator for this Jazz team in the second half of the season.
Ensuring these adjustments are made will clear the way for a potential series win over a veteran team with enough playoff mettle to complicate the Thunder’s first-round experience.