After getting pummeled by the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, the Oklahoma City Thunder have bounced back and won their last two games including a 107-93 win over the Dallas Mavericks Thursday in Oklahoma City. It was the second game that Russell Westbrook played and again he looked great. Serge Ibaka was also able to find the offensive game he was missing the first three games this season.
This game started off really entertaining and if you like good offense, this was your type of game. The defense wasn't necessarily terrible all the time, both teams just came out ready to play. The first half had a little bit of everything. Kendrick Perkins connected on a reverse layup, Ibaka made a three-pointer, Perry Jones had an alley-oop dunk and we even got to see Russell Westbrook mad, which usually happens when he's playing well. It was just a fun first half all around.
The Third quarter was a sloppy for both teams, and it even got a little chippy. Steven Adams got a technical foul for accidentally elbowing Vince Carter, but Carter retaliated and got a flagrant-2 and was ejected from the game. The Thunder took a double-digit lead to the fourth quarter and sustained it up until the final buzzer sounded.
NOTE: Reggie Jackson left the game in the third quarter after suffering a left hip contusion. The team didn't comment on the severity of the injury, but Jackson isn't expected to miss any time.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
During the first quarter I kept thinking that the Thunder needed to clean up their defensive rebounding and their defense as a whole, but as the game went on, I became more comfortable with those areas. One thing that's certain is that this is a really potent offense. When the bench is clicking like they were today, OKC will be really hard to beat. The young guys are slowly finding their way and the Westbrook-Durant-Ibaka trio continues to be spectacular. If tonight's game was any indication of what the offense will look like on most days, get ready for a really fun season, Thunder fans.
Also, Steven Adams is a really, really tough dude. His screens are rock solid and his grip on the ball down in the block is crazy strong. He's turning out to be another draft gem by Sam Presti.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder won?
Total team effort. It's so simple, yet so effective. The Thunder played a great all-around game. Their defense started off shaky, but they were able to fix that as the game went on. The balance offensively was off the charts. The Thunder had 36 points from their bench, led by Jeremy Lamb's 13. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 45 points and Serge Ibaka finally found his offensive game and he chipped in with 17 and 13 boards.
The Thunder connected on five three-pointers against the Mavericks, but they constantly attacked the paint and scored 54 points in the paint They were able to get to the free-throw line 25 times as well. Bottom line is: everybody chipped in and did their respective job and the Thunder didn't rely on Durant or Westbrook down the stretch since the game was already in the bag.
What was a key statistic to understanding the game?
28 assists. If you have that many assists in an NBA game, you're probably going to win. The Thunder moved the ball extremely well all night. Durant led the charge with 10 assists, but everybody on the team contributed. Reggie Jackson had five assists in 12 minutes before leaving with injury.
Scott Brooks should have this game tape framed for whenever the Thunder go on multiple games with scoring droughts.
What does this game mean to the Thunder tonight and going forward?
This game shows us that the Thunder are starting to hit their stride. The scary thing is that, tonight was Westbrook's second game back from injury and the team has looked like it hasn't missed a beat. It seems that Scott Brooks is finding the right rotation and at one point he had Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones, Nick Collison and Steven Adams out on the floor at the same time, and it was really good.
|Final - 11.6.2013||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||33||24||28||22||107|
Thunder Wonder: Serge Ibaka - 17 points 8-10 FG, 13 rebounds (2 offensive), 3 blocks
Thunder Down Under: Kevin Durant - 23 points 7-16 FG, 3 rebounds (1 offensive), 10 assists, 2 steals
Thunder Blunder: Every single player did their job and there is no blunder for tonights game. That's a good thing.
Thunder Plunderer: Shawn Marion - 17 points 7-13 FG, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks
Next game: @ Detroit Pistons Friday, Nov. 8, 6:30 CST