Well, this is the latest recap ever, and the game is somewhat distant in my memory, but I will not let a game go unrecapped!
In any case, you hate to see a game like this. A game where the Thunder stay behind the Rockets for the majority of the game, with their lead slowly but surely increasing. The game was still within reach statistically, but by the 4th quarter, you could tell it was all over.
Jeff Green got totally shut down by Houston's defense, leaving him with a season (career?) low of 6 points. Nenad Krstic also had a terrible night against the Rockets athletic big men, and Sefolosha didn't find much time to play offense, so the scoring was left all to KD and Westbrook. We had no x factor able to step in and help the team out.
Aside from individual performance, the Thunder definitely succumbed to the long range shooting of the Rockets. I'm not necessarily talking about 3 pointers, but also about jumpers. Chase Budinger owned us on offense all game, hitting a 3 here, making a jumper there, passing it to the right man everywhere. Anyone who thinks that we should still have drafted B.J. Mullens, raise your hand. I thought so.
Below: Analysis, Awards
One of the most interesting aspects of the game is how KD managed to shut down Shane Battier. He only scored 9 points all day, and it didn't seem to be from missed shots. He shot 4-5, while playing 34 minutes. You see, this is the difference between a good role player on a good team and a bad role player on a bad team. Here, he didn't force unnecessary shots, and let his teammates have a good day. The same went for Chuck Hayes and David Andersen, who both went a mediocre 1-3. But, lets compare this to our team. Nenad Krstic went 1-8, and Jeff Green went 3-15. Our young stars are good, don't get me wrong, but our team is not to the point of being able to trust other players to score for you. We were forcing bad shots all night, which is a easy recipe for disaster.
As far as awards go, this game is pretty obvious. Russell Westbrook gets the Thunder Wonder for his 33 Points, 7 Assists, and 5 Rebounds, and Kevin Durant gets the Thunder Down Under for 27 Points, 9 Rebounds, and 3 Steals. And, 7 assists is a totally acceptable number for a Point Guard. So anyone who is looking to criticize Westbrook for that nights performance (I'm looking at you, Jim Traber), please, lay off.
As far as the Rockets go, you can't really pinpoint a "best player" for tonight game. It was a total team effort, with Ariza and Landry both contributing 21 points, and Luis Scola adding 19 points and 10 rebounds. But, I'm going to go off the beaten path, and name Chase Budinger the Thunder Plunderer, for his 16 point performance. Why? Well, because he totally embarrassed B.J. Mullens, who hasn't played an NBA minute.
Also, the Thunder Blunder goes to Nenad Krstic. Jeff Green had a bad scoring night, but he managed to contribute in other places. Krstic had 6 rebounds, but his 1-8 shooting and lack of defense just killed the team.
On my last note, I'll say that Shaun Livingston and D.J. White got some playing time tonight, and they contributed very little. At one point, we had Kevin Ollie, Shaun Livingston, James Harden, Nick Collison, and Etan Thomas on the floor. It was pretty hilarious, and they gave up major points. I'm not saying that their careers are over, that they should cry themselves to sleep, or anything like that, but I am saying that pre-season numbers do not equate to regular season success. There's a reason they're being eased in to the lineup behind less-talented veterans, and rest assured, they will have their day.
Next Game: Versus the Magic, Sunday, November 8th, at 6 PM Central Standard Time.
It's time for both me and the Thunder to get back into our respective saddles.