The Oklahoma City Thunder had no basketball-related problems during the first half of Friday night’s game. The young Western Conference team scored 63 points through the first two quarters, racing out to eight point lead over the visiting Atlanta Hawks.
However, the Thunder made an important, and necessary, halftime adjustment. The team’s players swapped uniforms, solving a massive lapse in the league’s normally airtight jersey system.
When both teams took the court on Friday, they came out in remarkably similar colors. The Thunder donned their bright orange “statement” alternate jerseys, while the Hawks wore their classic red uniforms. The combination made for quite the eye sore, especially on television.
The league stepped in at halftime and asked that Oklahoma City, the home team, swap out their jerseys at halftime. The Thunder did so without a problem and came out for the second half in white uniforms.
From the players perspective, the contrasting colors didn’t seem to have too much of an effect. Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander spoke about the situation that enraptured the NBA on Friday night.
“It looked weird at first, but it didn’t have too much effect once I got going in the first half,” Gilgeous-Alexander said, per ESPN’s Royce Young. “It wasn’t much to it, but I think it made it a little easier for our peripherals and stuff like that in the second half. But other than that, it was cool.
MID-GAME JERSEY CHANGE pic.twitter.com/oErdH1Fqwb
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) February 27, 2021
Wildest nights in my career:
1. Rudy Gobert tests positive
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) February 27, 2021
Both head coaches, Oklahoma City’s Mark Daigneault and Atlanta’s Lloyd Pierce, barely even noticed the clashing colors until team officials addressed the change at halftime.
“I certainly didn’t notice it or even think about it, to be honest with you, then it was a league mandate that we just reacted to,” Daigneault said. “They made me aware of it at halftime when we went into the locker rooms that guys were in white uniforms, and then we went out and played the second half.”
The jersey swap didn’t change much of the action in the game. The Thunder relinquished gave back just one point of their lead in the second half, winning 118-109. The win marked Oklahoma City’s 14th of the year, while the Hawks lost their 10th road game this season.