Post-Game Interviews: Caron Butler
"The best defense is a good offense." -Whomever designed the Denver Nuggets
Man, what a first half that was. The Thunder were literally unstoppable on offense, while the Nuggets just gave them whatever shot they wanted. I don't know if I've seen such a poorly executed defensive scheme in my entire life. I mean, Ibaka was literally staring Kenneth Faried down before rising up for jumpers. The Thunder were able to pass into easy shots while walking down the floor, and got several uncontested looks at the rim. Simply put, the Nuggets just didn't look like they even wanted to win this game. With their season basically over and nearly no youngsters on the roster, who could blame them?
KD was matched up with the undersized Quincy Miller, taking basically uncontested shots all game. He grabbed 24 of his 27 points in the first half, as well as six of his eight assists. Durant definitely struggled to start the second half, and it was pretty obvious that he was making a concerted effort towards a triple-double. But with the Thunder up by so much and the Nuggets doing so little to threaten, you can't really blame him.
Caron Butler also had a big night, and did a lot to carry the team through the second half. Of course, as most of you know, I'm a huge Caron Butler hater, and was not really impressed with what he was able to do. Mostly, he just nailed open shots and uncontested turnaround jumpers. His opponents were never tall enough to deal with him, and he still managed to miss a couple of open shots. I mean, I will give him credit for keeping the team above water during a lethargic second half, but I'd still like to see this type of impact on a close game. And I'd like to see him stop letting our opponents pass into open threes.
Aaaaanyway, I really shouldn't make this recap a negative one. After all, Jeremy Lamb was the only player to truly have a bad game, as he struggled to get anything going from the floor. I don't really have a problem with the shots he took or how he took them, and a couple probably should have gone in. So really, I won't read too much into that.
Also, tonight was a great night for Thunder bigs. Adams and Collison were able to exist around the rim and put in an unusual amount of points, but they had a couple of really hilariously sick plays in particular. Collison had a really nice YOLO three pointer from the corner. He also drove the ball while dribbling (yes, you read that correctly) all the way from outside the three point line and in to score. I only remember that happening once before in his career, so it was pretty cool and shocking to see. Adams, meanwhile, was able to hit an uncontested floater from about 8 feet out. Pretty solid for a big.
On Denver's side of the fence, things don't look very good. As I mentioned, the defense was downright abominable, giving up points at every turn. The offense wasn't nearly as bad, but it was a bit below average. They had some trouble with back court turnovers, and couldn't seem to nail their open threes. Furthermore, they only shot 67% from the free throw line. Had the Nuggets played a perfect offensive game, they could have probably challenged to win this game. But the effort just wasn't there.
Moving forward, the Thunder will face the Dallas Mavericks down in Big D tomorrow. The starters were able to rest during the fourth and it's only a 30 minute flight, so everyone should be nice and refreshed for that revenge game. The win moves them to only two games back of the Spurs for the Western Conference Lead, who have played two less games but have two less losses. The win also moves them 7.5 games ahead of Portland for the division crown, which has been all but decided at this point.
- Hasheem Thabeet was inactive tonight, despite an open active roster spot for him. I wonder why?
- Russell Westbrook should be well-rested for tomorrow's game against Dallas. Woo!
- Kevin Durant's streak of 25 point games is now at 35. Five away from Jordan!
- Ty Lawson's reign of terror continues, as he fueled an efficient offensive performance from the free throw line.
- Andre Roberson fouled out, and continues to have the worst offensive game in the NBA. I still wonder how he starts over Lamb, and gets time over Jones.
- Mustafa Shakur was a lucky bounce away from scoring his first NBA field goal since April 13th, 2011. He barely missed a layup at the end of regulation. Shakur could make his last appearance for the Thunder tomorrow, as his 10-Day-Contract expires after that game.
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, who only needs one half to look good.
Thunder Down Under: Caron Butler, who made scoring look effortless.
Thunder Blunder: Jeremy Lamb, who needs a case of Michael's Secret Stuff at this point.
Thunder Plunderer: Ty Lawson, who loves our tight defense at the rim.
Next Game: At the Dallas Mavericks, Monday, March 24th, 7 PM Central Standard Time.