The first professional meeting between Kevin Durant and Greg Oden was a memorable one for Thunder players and fans. For Oden, and the Blazers, it was a forgettable meeting. K-Smoove was money tonight putting up 31 points on 12-25 shooting (6-7 at the line). On the other side, Greg Oden struggled for minutes, clocking in with just 16 minutes (4 points). Its just as clear tonight, as ever, that Kevin Durant will be one of the premier Superstar players in the NBA for years to come. As for Greg Oden, I think its easy for people to forget that he's essentially still a rookie, and at his position is going to need a solid 2-3 years before we find out how he is going to pan out. On this night, Thunder fans feel like we definitely lucked out in getting Durant at number 2.
The Thunder came out of the gate quick tonight as they scored 37 first quarter points. Whatever the gameplan was, it certainly seemed to include pushing the ball up court in transition to keep Portland out of position and off balance defensively. It definitely was something that worked in the first half as the Thunder put up a solid 60 first half points. Pair that with only giving up 40 points to the Blazers, and you have probably one of the better performances by the Thunder this season.
Portland made some adjustments at the half and definitely played a more competitive game in the final two quarters. The Blazers outscored the Thunder 26-21 and 27-21 in the 3rd and 4th quarters respectively. Oklahoma City finally found a way to play with a lead, and despite getting outscored in each of the final periods, was able to hang on for a 9 point win, arguably, the biggest win in this teams short history.
These teams have so many story lines that tonight may have well been the beginning of a very heated rivalry that we will be able to enjoy for years to come. Round one goes to the good guys, and we're off to round 2 next week. First things first though, we'll be at home again on Sunday for the Sacramento Kings. I'll personally be there for that, in Loud City 321. Looking forward to a little revenge on the Kings for that overtime victory last week. After this one, its going to get tough, back to back games on the road against the Lakers, and this same Portland team.