Kevin Durant torched the Los Angeles Lakers to the tune 31 points on 10-of-13 shooting Friday and the Oklahoma City Thunder picked up their 11th straight home victory, 122-97.
Durant was brilliant, finding space whenever and wherever he wanted against the Lakers' defense. He literally had his way with any defender Mike D'Antoni threw his way and also played great pick-and-roll offense. Durant made the Lakers pay all night for trying to fight over screens.
Russell Westbrook wasn't bad either. He nearly recorded a triple-double, and would have had the Thunder not put things out of reach after three quarters. Westbrook finished with 19 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds, his third double-digit assist performance in four games.
Serge Ibaka had possibly the quietest double-double of his career with 19 points (8-of-13) and 10 boards. He continues to play high-level defense as well, making Pau Gasol look old for most of the game.
The Thunder's bench played extended minutes and turned in 45 points, including 30 combined from Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb. Steven Adams had a Perk-like game with just one point in 15 minutes, however he finished a team-high +24. Perry Jones III took advantage of the extra burn and turned in nine points in 20 minutes.
- This one never felt like a game. Not even before the tip. The Lakers aren't very good and they're banged up on top of that. Looked like low-hanging fruit for OKC, and it turned out to be. When I say they had their way with L.A., it's far from a joke.
- Durant was ultra-efficient. 31 points on just 10 makes with eight boards and five assists. Not to mention four steals, a block and just two turnovers in 31 minutes. And the best part of his game against Los Angeles might not have been the 10 makes, but the fact he freed himself for open looks on nearly all 13 of his shots. Seriously. He ran off screens with great energy and took advantage of Laker defenders trying to fight over screens. Plus he moved the ball with consistency also. It wasn't all about him for times in the offense. He let everything come to him and it paid off in a big way for his teammates.
- Guess what? Westbrook was remarkable too. He would have finished with a triple-double had the Thunder not built a big enough lead for Brooks to rest the starting unit. Westbrook was locked-in from the start and after the Thunder built a comfortable lead in the first quarter, it looked like Westbrook started to have fun. He now has three double-digit assist performances in the last four games, leading to the Thunder's 110 total helpers in the same span.
- Andre Roberson did a fine job filling in for Thabo Sefolosha once again. He finished with just two points, but he was a pest on the defensive end. He tied-up Kobe, straight-up, and forced a jump-ball on the Lakers' second possession of the game. He's starting to look like Sefolosha's replacement pending he and the Thunder part ways this offseason. Kudos to Sam Presti for always having a backup plan.
- I hit on this, but 110 helpers in the last four games? The Thunder's offense, with their two superstar scorers and jump-shooting big man, is nearly unstoppable when they move the ball like they have the past four games. They could be turning a corner, but this is still a small sample-size. It will be interesting to see if they stay consistent as the calendar nears the end.
- The bench played extended minutes against the Lakers and never let up. Jackson and Lamb combined for 30 points and Steven Adams played quality minutes, finishing +24 for the game. The second unit didn't have to be great for OKC to beat the Lakers, however, they never took their foot off the throttle. It was nice to see their intensity when they were in total control.
- Perry Jones III: Nine points, a steal and a block in 20 minutes. He also had a couple of nice throw-downs.
- How about this for a Kobe Bryant line-score: Four points (2-of-6), 13 assists, one rebound and seven turnovers. Injuries and age...injuries and age.
- So it's come to this. This was once a budding rivalry, but after age, injuries, a Phil Jackson retirement and Dwight Howard, it's become nothing more than an expected Thunder blowout. Remember Game 6? Not many people do.
- Xavier Henry, from Putnam City High School in Oklahoma City, finished with 15 points off the Lakers' bench. It doesn't seem like he gets the same recognition as Blake Griffin, both Oklahoma natives. It's a shame, but Henry seems to have developed in a Lakers uniform. He's starting to work towards a nice little contract.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
It was expected.
The Lakers old and injured, and they're probably running an offense not best suited for their roster. However, the Thunder took care of business and earned their 11th straight home victory. The effort was there on both sides of the ball and it was a blowout. Nothing wrong with that.
What was the overall reason the Thunder won?
There are plenty of reasons the Thunder destroyed the Lakers, however, the simple fact is OKC is just the better team.
What was the key statistic to understanding the game?
- 34: The Thunder finished with 34 assists on 47 made shots. They kind of look like they're starting to figure out this ball movement thing, right?
- 59-41: The Thunder pulled down 59 rebounds compared to the Lakers' 41. Boards were never the question in this game. In fact, there was never a question anyway.
- 28%: Coming into the game, the Lakers were the fourth-best 3-point shooting team in the league at a clip of nearly 40 percent. The Thunder held them to 28 percent (7-of-25).
What does this game mean going forward?
One thing to watch going forward: ball movement. If the Thunder continue to swing the rock like they have over the last four games, they could be extremely dangerous and really make a run at controlling home-court throughout the Western Conference playoffs.
|Final - 12.13.2013||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Los Angeles Lakers||28||23||23||23||97|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||38||28||28||28||122|
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Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant (31 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists)
Thunder Down Under: Russell Westbrook (19 points, 12 assists, 8 rebounds)
Thunder Blunder: N/A
Thunder Plunderer: None whatsoever.
Next game: vs. Orlando Magic (Dec. 15th) @ 6:0013 PM CDT.