New Years Eve wins don't get much better than this!
In a well-flowing and exciting game, the Thunder thoroughly dominated the Atlanta Hawks. In fact, the domination was so great that the Hawks never led beyond the 9:33 mark in the first quarter. Sure, they got the lead into single digits at times, but there was little doubt in my mind that the Thunder would lose this game.
But, there were moments where the Hawks showed life. Their main advantage over other teams is that they have a bunch of athletic wings who can get hot at any time. And if a few of them get hot, they can start putting together runs and steamrolling over their opponent. But when they have players being completely unproductive, their strategy backfires. Jason Collins and Mike Bibby were borderline useless, while Damien Wilkins, Maurice Evans, and Jeff Teague contributed nothing off of the bench.
To be honest, if the Hawks are to win a game against the Thunder, they need to make sure to diversify their scoring options. Throwing it to a wing every single time can leave their team susceptible to double-teams and, consequently, lots of missed shots and turnovers.
Below: Self-Given Hawks Nickname, Future Analysis, Awards!
But the self-given nickname of the Hawks is very apt. The Highlight Factory was lots of fun to watch, sinking lots of difficult jumpers and breaking away for some awesome dunks. But there was no highlight of theirs that I enjoyed more than Serge Ibaka swatting away one of their dunks, even if it was statistically meaningless.
We'll see the Hawks again on March 4th, and both teams will undoubtedly be making their playoff pushes at that time. The fight won't be as easy that time, as the Hawks are excellent at home, but it will be a great opportunity for a sweep of an excellent Eastern Conference team.
Thunder Wonder: Russell Westbrook, 23 Points, 10 Rebounds, 10 Assists, 2 Steals. A bit too many shots for my liking, but the Triple Double speaks for itself.
Thunder Down Under: Kevin Durant, 33 Points, 4 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 1 Steal, 1 Block. Easy pick here.
Thunder Blunder: Nobody. Blowing out a elite Eastern Conference team? I think the Grinch in me can take a rest for tonight.
Thunder Plunderer: Jamal Crawford, 26 Points, 2 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 5 Steals. Nobody was more consistent offensively and defensively for the Hawks.
Next Game: At the San Antonio Spurs, Saturday, January 1st, 7 PM Central Standard Time.