Kevin Martin put together an amazing first half, ending with 24 and Kevin Durant added 27 as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Indiana Pacers, 104-93.
The Thunder led by 13 at one point in the second quarter due to a hot streak ed by Martin and the Thunder's second team. The Pacers were able to put together a run late in the second quarter to recover and briefly led before going into into the half down 1.
The Pacers, led by David West who scored 21, and Paul George with 17, were within 3 late in the game before Russell Westbrook led an 8-0 run to put the game away.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
Tonight was a battle between the league's best offense and best defense. OKC was able to get the better of the Pacers by capitalizing on short offensive runs that Indiana was simply unable to match.
Tonight's game could have easily been a trap game for the Thunder. The Thunder have played great recently, and coming off a huge win against the Lakers on Friday, I feared the Thunder would not be as motivated tonight. In addition, OKC lost to the Pacers last year in the lockout shortened season.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder won?
Despite having the league's best defense, the Pacers only average around 90 points per game offensively. In order to win this game they were going to have to keep the Thunder around 90 points. The Thunder instead relied upon shot spurts of offense efficiency to pull away from the Pacers numerous times throughout the game. The Pacers were simply unable to match the firepower of the Thunder, and OKC never had to struggle to keep their lead.
What was a key statistic to understanding the game?
The Thunder were able to out-rebound the Pacers, 52-38. With Danny Granger being out indefinitely, the rest of the Pacers have had to carry the load of their best offensive player. Roy Hibbert showed brief glimpses of greatness in last seasons conference semi-finals match up with the Heat, but has been unable to carry that over to this season. Hibbert should have had a rebounding edge against the Thunder if they hoped to keep the Thunder's offense at bay, but was unable to tip the scales in his team's favor.
What does this game mean to the Thunder tonight and going forward?
With a win tonight, the Thunder are tied with the Spurs for the best record in the NBA. With the next two games being against New Orleans and Sacramento, the Thunder have a real good chance of being 19-4 before their rematch with San Antonio a week from tomorrow.
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, 27 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists.
Thunder Down Under: Kevin Martin, 24 points.
Thunder Blunder: Thabo Sefolosha, 2 points, 1-4 FG.
Thunder Plunderer: David West, 21 points, 9 rebounds.
Next game: vs. New Orleans Hornets, on Wed. Dec. 12, at 7 CDT
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