What can you say about a game such as this? It was almost like deja vu from last night. The Thunder get a lead, maintain it for most of the game, and slammed the door firmly shut in the fourth quarter. The defense was much better here, but the principle was the same.
Well, you can talk about the great dunks! Serge Ibaka had two awesome alley-oops while Russell Westbrook had a few take-offs of his own. B.J. Mullens looked as terrible as ever, and James Harden had an off-night. He was so off that, during the fourth, he missed 5 consecutive shots, a free throw, and committed a turnover. It didn't kill the game by any means, but it helped to put Sacramento within 9, leaving the door open for a comeback with 6 minutes to go.
Or, you can talk about how this team regressed completely as far as three point shooting goes. James Harden shoulders some of that blame, but to be quite honest, nobody was hitting their threes tonight. 20% is pretty inexcusable for a team of our caliber.
In the end, defense really won this game for us. Sacramento scored only 6 points in the last three minutes of the game, and towards the end of the game they kept missing contested jumpers, forcing them to run their offense from the free throw line. And when you've got the other team resorting to that as their game plan, you know you've won.
Below: Future Analysis, Awards!
Moving forward, the Thunder are looking to secure their division's crown, and they got a step closer with tonight's win. With Utah's devastating loss to the Hornets, the Thunder now hold first place in the division by one game.
We'll see the Kings again twice in February and once in April. Ideally, we'd like to sweep the Kings, but there's a strong possibility they could steal one from us at home. Had a few more balls bounced their way tonight, it could have been anyone's game.
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, 24 Points, 2 Rebounds, 5 Assists, 1 Steal, 1 Block
Thunder Down Under: Serge Ibaka, 12 Points, 10 Rebounds, 3 Blocks
Thunder Blunder: James Harden, for missing 5 consecutive shots and committing a turnover in one stretch.
Thunder Plunderer: Tyreke Evans, 22 Points, 5 Rebounds, 6 Assists, 1 Steal.
Next Game: Versus the Phoenix Suns, Sunday, December 19th, 6 PM Central Standard Time.