THIS is why we watch the NBA. Because any run-of-the-mill game on any random Wednesday night can turn into the most exciting game of the season. No matter how bad the opponent may seem.
But, before I get to the game, let me just come out and say that I wrote a horrible preview. Actually, it was more like one of the worst previews I've ever written. I couldn't have been more off about the flow of the game, how good the Nets are, and what the outcome of the game would be. Badly researched, written after getting no sleep in the past 24 hours, and extremely arrogant. It won't happen again.
Regardless, lets talk about what happened tonight. And discussion of what happened has to start with the man, the myth, the legend, Russell Westbrook (Thunder Wonder). It wasn't a start to finish fantastic performance, but when it came down to it in the clutch, he was all over the floor. He made over half of the teams points in the first overtime, half of the teams points in the second overtime, and all of the teams points in the third overtime. He led the team in rebounds at 15, and he backed that up with 38 Points, 9 Rebounds, and 3 Steals. There were points where he tried a little bit too had, and it seemed like he either took a bad shot or backed himself into a corner. But when it seems like he's the only guy scoring, you've got to give him a little room for error.
Below: Green's Contribution, Faults, How the Nets Did, Petro, A Bit of History, Highlights!
And this team definitely relied equally on Jeff Green. Most of his contributions came during regulation, where he seemed to be the only guy willing to take a jumpshot that wasn't a big man pick n' pop. He had excellent offensive efficiency all game, and essentially replaced what we look for on the statline from Kevin Durant. But, easily his biggest play of the game came at the end of the second overtime. With the Thunder down by three with 5.4 seconds to go, he received the ball on the inbounds, about three feet behind the three point line. Even though there were 4 seconds left, and Harden was open to his left, he took a chance from where he was at, because he sensed Anthony Morrow right on his tail. His gamble paid off, and he ended up going to the line for three and forcing triple overtime after his wild three barely missed the rim.
Who else helped out? James Harden had an excellent game with 16 Points, 7 Rebounds, 3 Assists, and 2 Steals. He pretty much served as the offensive anchor while Green and Westbrook were out. You also have to give credit to Krstic and Ibaka, who were owned in the post all day, but did a good job of knocking down jumpers and opening up the paint a bit for the Thunder guards.
Was anyone at fault? Well, there does have to be a reason this game went as far as it did. And while it's not entirely the Thunder's fault, there is some blame to be passed around. Eric Maynor (Thunder Blunder) had a terrible game, shooting only 1 of 5 while committing 2 Turnovers to only go with 2 Assists. Also, Thabo Sefolosha had a solid gam statistically with 8 rebounds and three steals, but he botched two crucial fast-break plays, missed two wide-open threes, and did a horrible job guarding Morrow. Sefolosha usually does well against guarding inside and mid-range oriented guards, but he doesn't close out very well on long-range shooters. But, when a guy is as hot as Morrow was, what are you going to do?
On the Nets side of things, they had a tremendous game from all of their starters. Anthony Morrow hit an extremely clutch laser beam three at the end of regulation, and he essentially propelled his team to an early lead in the first overtime. He continued to contribute offensively in the second and third OT. Complimenting him on the outside was Jordan Farmar. During the game, Brain Davis made a puzzling statement about Farmar not being a true PG, even though I'd consider him more of a PG than Russell Westbrook will ever will be. Nonetheless, in addition to feeding Morrow, Outlaw, and Lopez, Farmar had 28 Points of his own. He was mostly effective in regulation, as he exploited the space cleared by both Lopez and Humphries. But he did have two clutch layups early in the 2nd OT, and he almost got the Nets back into the game with a late three at the end of Triple OT. Outlaw had a good game of his own, scoring 16, and Brook Lopez was fighting for points all night long against big defensive pressure. Kris Humphries mainly served to help clog the paint on defense, and clear the paint on offense. He was essential in forcing the Thunder to play big, because if they didn't, he would have started punishing them down low, and put the Nets over the top early.
We got to see Johan Petro again tonight, who manages to stay in the NBA because he's 7-Feet Tall and has a jumpshot. He hit one over Collison tonight, and I could tell he probably wanted a bit of glory over his former team mate.
It was the first triple-overtime for the Thunder in 20 years exactly, since it happened against Portland on December 1st, 1990. The Supersonics lost that one, but Xavier McDaniel did have 41 Points. The Nets last had a triple-OT game on November 8th, 1995. Former Oklahoma City Hornet P.J. Brown had 15 Points and 12 Rebounds for the Nets in that game. But let's hope we won't have to wait 20 years for another one like this, because it was just awesome!
And that's it for me. I'm taking a mulligan for that preview and moving on. Please, enjoy the highlights....
Next Game: At the Raptors, Friday, December 3rd, 6 PM Central Standard Time.