And the Jazz are under our foot.
In the first game of our tougher schedule down the stretch, we passed with flying colours. The Thunder have now won 41 games.
That's right, 41 games. This team is no joke. Usually, teams that (like ours) get unexpectedly hot in the early going usually fizzle out mid-season and finish with around 30-35 wins. But reaching this milestone proves that the Thunder aren't your average hot starters. They're for real, and you better take them seriously in the playoffs.
This game was pretty stressful, because the Jazz were always on the cusp of falling behind just enough to put the game out of reach. But a 3 from Wes Matthews or otherwise, and they were right back on the horse. At the game, I had a friend with me who insisted that the game was in the bag nearly the entire time. And I kept telling him, just wait a bit, you'll see. I kept pointing out times where it could happen, like when the Thunder had a lineup of Ibaka, Collison, Green, Weaver, and Maynor. But it never did happen, at least, not until the end of the 4th quarter, when the Jazz got it down to 6 with 25 seconds to go. Alas, their comeback attempt was in vain, as the Thunder quickly put their foot down and closed the game on freethrows.
Without Andrei Kirilenko, the Jazz really had no answer for Kevin Durant (Thunder Wonder) tonight. C.J. Miles is alright defensively, but he's nothing to write home about. And, as always, the battle between Deron Williams (Thunder Plunderer) and Russell Westbrook (Thunder Down Under) was intense. But, strangely, this time they both put up high performance numbers. Usually Westbrook dominates Williams, but it appears Williams found a way to score this go around.
Sefolosha and Weaver (Thunder Blunder) were actually pretty worthless tonight. Sefolosha scored alright, but he did almost nothing to stop the onslaught of Wes Matthews, who had a career high 29 points.
From reading the above two paragraphs, you might reason that the Thunder did a bad job in this game. That is true, but only defensively. Their offensive prevalence completely made up for their defensive slacking. They shot 60% as a team, which is the best I've ever seen a team shoot in my life. Even when they weren't missing they were getting to the line. So the amount of true misses the Thunder had is very negligible.
If I had to sum up this game in a nutshell, I'd say the loss of Okur and Kirilenko turned them into a very offensive, fast paced team. And, as a result of that, Boozer and Milsap couldn't keep up, forcing them to rely on their guards. And C.J. Miles and Kyle Korver couldn't provide quite the punch the Jazz needed against better scorers on the Thunder, so they lost.
Next Game: At the Bobcats, Wednesday, March 17th, 6 PM Central Standard Time