From start to finish, it was an all-out Thunder triumph. Westbrook and Durant were handling the ball like Greek Gods with golden hands in the first. The ball went exactly where they wanted it to go, and the Pistons were massively overmatched. Knight and Stuckey weren't quick enough or big enough to deal with Westbrook, and Durant was manhandling Prince despite his long arms.
The Pistons offense was staggered at best. In the half-court, they'd try to pass it to Greg Monroe, but Kendrick Perkins did an excellent job of keeping him out of the paint. It looked like he was always just a foot too far away from where he needed to be, and it really screwed up his shot mechanics. As a result, we didn't need to double team him, eliminating the threat of Maxiell and Wallace in the lane.
The Pistons' plays mostly consisted of dumping the ball in the post or rotating it around the perimeter. Since there was no one to double-team and the Thunder didn't play in a zone, the Pistons couldn't exactly find a player open on the perimeter, much less in rhythm. Sometimes, the Pistons would run a pick play, but they would always seem to run right back into the defense. The only area they found any extended success was when they could push the pace or get an offensive board and take advantage of some defensive confusion.
At times, the Pistons looked really demoralized as well. Ibaka straight up missed two layups near the basket, with no Thunder players around him. He managed to rebound the both while surrounded by three or four Pistons and score on the third attempt. There's getting outsized, and then there's just not trying. That situation falls under the latter.
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Reggie Jackson had a good game, and is really starting to get a feel for running the offense. He handled the ball at least as much as James Harden did, and he knew how to run the few plays he was entrusted with. Additionally, he knew exactly where all of his teammates were on the floor, really helping out or offense when it (sort of) needed it.
When the Thunder were up by 29 Points with 41 seconds left to go in the second quarter, Kendrick Perkins got called for a technical foul. You heard that right. He now leads the NBA with 6 technical fouls, and is on the fast track to a fine and suspension before the end of the season. Great! I'm sure it will come during a very pivotal time.
By the time the third rolled around, the game was seemingly all but over. Regardless, Detroit wouldn't give up without a fight. They started to drive the lane, and would get outright blocked because they were so well covered. But the confusion caused by the blocks led to moments of opportunity for the Pistons. On the Thunder's end, they were starting to be a little bit too careless with the ball, and the Pistons eventually got to within 19. But Durant immediately responded with a quick jumper, and the deficit was maintained from there on.
The fourth quarter didn't have a whole lot of notables, but we did get to see a really sick looking Cole Aldrich dunk, and we got to see Royal Ivey throw up a shot. All in all, a successful night. The only downer was that the Thunder didn't go for 100, which pretty much ruined the entire night. I'm not buying KDIVs no more!
Overall, the Thunder's rebounding looked better than it had in a while. Our offensive boards were down, but we didn't necessarily get a lot of opportunities with the way we were shooting. But the Thunder out-rebounded the Pistons by 14, and they were pretty dominantly boxing out when they were supposed to. Nothing to write home about against the league's worst defensive rebounders, but certainly something that should ease your concerns a little bit.
The win moves the Thunder to 14-3 on the season. With Chicago's win over the Nets tonight, it keeps the Thunder a half a game behind the NBA's best record. Denver remains 1.5 games back for the Conference and division lead. With the loss, Detroit falls to 4-14 and 13th place in the Eastern Conference. They're 5th in the Central Division and 11.5 games back of the Division lead.
Thunder Wonder: James Harden, 24 Points, 5 Rebounds, 4 Assists
Thunder Down Under: Russell Westbrook, 24 Points, 5 Rebounds, 6 Assists
Thunder Blunder: Serge Ibaka, 3-10 Shooting
Thunder Plunderer: Tayshaun Prince, 9 Points, 2 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 1 Steal
Next Game: Versus the New Orleans Hornets, Wednesday, January 25th, 7PM Central Standard Time