Thunder 111, Trail Blazers 95: Durant Shines in Home Court Domination (2011-2012 Game 45 Quick Recap)

Just looking at that hand makes my shooting senses shudder.

Yahoo! Sports Box Score:

What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?

Man, what a game. Shots were falling like the rain in Spain's plains. Durant was constantly getting open looks and setting up other guys with his drives. Westbrook was hitting his mid-range jumper with ease. Harden his threes like nobody's business. Even Perkins and Sefolosha got in on the action.

Fact is, the Trail Blazers, aside from their first quarter collapse, played a pretty good game. Our help defense in the lane was as bad as ever, with Felton finding his way into the paint all too often. The coverage on Aldridge was better than it had been all season, but as a result, our defense suffered elsewhere. The Trail Blazers consistently threatened to come back tonight, but no balls seemed to bounce their way. If Camby and Wallace were there, I can almost guarantee you the game would have gone down to the wire.

What was tonight's turning point?

The Thunder built up a solid 15 point lead in the first and kept it for the rest of the game, so there was no real change in the tide. Rather, the Trail Blazers inevitably crossed a point of no return. That point didn't really come with a bang (though Durant did have a nice dunk after the fact). It came along with a whimper, after the Trail Blazers came to within 10 with 3:28 to go. Oklahoma City called a timeout, milked the clock, and Westbrook hit a jumper. A minute and a half later, the Trail Blazers only had another free throw to their name, and Westbrook hit an amazing layup off of a Harden lob into the post. With that, the game was all but finished.

What was, overall, the main reason the Thunder won?

Offensive execution. It's a cliche thing to say for a basketball analyst to say, I know. But the Thunder shot 55% from the field tonight, along with 66% from three. Sure, I could ramble on and on about how this play worked better because they did this and that, but I honestly can't remember a single shot the Thunder missed tonight. It's hard to explain rationally, but the Thunder were just there tonight.

What is a key statistic to understanding tonight's game?

43-35. 23-15. That's how much the Thunder were ahead in rebounding and assists tonight, respectively. The rebounding advantage helped the Thunder get a semi-transition game going, allowing them to get in some mid-range jumpers before the Blazers' defense was set. Assist-wise, I can talk all day about our shooting game, but the only way it got there was via excellent ball movement. Durant, in particular, kept the ball moving fantastically. He would often drive the ball, get deep into the post, and kick it out to a totally open player for an easy shot. It was rather unusual for him, since he usually only kicks it out if he gets trapped. But from what I saw tonight, it's clear he's come a long way from rip moves and flops to keep the offense kicking.

What does this game mean for the Thunder today and moving forward?

The game might have meant more if this game took place a week ago, but it's still a solid Northwest Division win. Hopefully it gives the Thunder some momentum as they move forward and try to protect their 3.5 game Western Conference lead.

Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, for his amazing assists and shutting down the game in the 4th.

Thunder Down Under: Thabo Sefolosha, for going perfect from beyond the arc

Thunder Blunder: Nobody. I seriously can't fault anyone for their performance tonight.

Thunder Plunderer: Jamal Crawford, for his efficient offensive night.

Next Game: At the Utah Jazz, Tuesday, March 20th, 8 PM Central Daylight Time

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Welcome to Loud City

You must be a member of Welcome to Loud City to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Welcome to Loud City. You should read them.

Join Welcome to Loud City

You must be a member of Welcome to Loud City to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Welcome to Loud City. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker