Game Notes from press row:
- Kendrick Perkins had one of his best performances of the season. He set the tone early, frustrating both Roy Hibbert and David West on the defensive end and never allowing an easy bucket to Hibbert, one of the league's premier centers. Although West and Hibbert combined for eight points in the first (4-8 shooting), they never really got in a rhythm, allowing OKC to jump out to a 10-point lead after the first quarter.
- It felt like Kevin Durant was going at Paul George from the tip. It's almost like Durant saw playing one of the NBA's best defenders as a challenge and it led to a huge night offensively. Durant scorched Indiana for 36 points on 14-23 shooting (9th time over with 30 or more this season), along with 10 rebounds and five helpers. If Sunday's win was a statement game, it was duly noted.
- Russell Westbrook was sort of the silent assassin Sunday. He finished with 26 points, 13 dimes and seven boards against one of the NBA's best defensive point guards, George Hill. Not once did he let his intensity down, not even after going 0-5 from three in the first quarter.
- Reggie Jackson looks more and more like the Thunder's official sixth-man every game. Tonight: 15 points, four rebounds and three dimes in 26 minutes. He got going for a stretch, scoring seven points in the first four minutes of the second quarter, helping extend OKC's lead from 10 to 16. That sounds like something a sixth-man would do, doesn't it?
- Indiana had trouble getting back in transition Sunday, giving up 22 fast-break points to OKC. Tonight's loss caps a five-game road trip for Indiana that featured the Clippers, Trail Blazers, Spurs and Thunder. Not to mention, they faced the Thunder on a back-to-back after defeating the Spurs 111-100 on Saturday. Something tells me the Pacers would be ecstatic to be back home on Tuesday, if they didn't have to play the Miami Heat.
- Jeremy Lamb, who finished with just five points, hit a three with 7:21 left in the second quarter that everybody in the building knew was going to drop. 18,000 made confidence a sound as Lamb hoisted the three that put OKC up 43-24.
- Who would've though Serge Ibaka would finish with just one block and three rebounds and still finish +17?
- For the first time all season, Derek Fisher did not record a leadership. Drops his average to 6.3 leaderships per 48 minutes.
- Steven Adams played solid against Roy Hibbert. He did a good job of picking up where Perkins left off midway through the first quarter. Adams finished with five points and four boards in 18 minutes.
- 27 assists. How about that? It was impressive to see the Thunder go 48 minutes without bailing into Durant-Westbrook-isolation mode. Seriously, there didn't seem to be a moment throughout the game where OKC's ball movement became stagnant.
- Paul George is the real deal. He went for 32 without getting in a rhythm. He's easily one of the league's best players on both ends, even though he has no business guarding Durant on the second night of a back-to-back.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
The Thunder took it to a team finishing off a five-game road trip and the second of a road back-to-back.
The Pacers were sluggish on both ends and the Thunder were as intense as ever at both ends. It's almost like OKC knew Indiana wouldn't be at top-speed and they wanted to make a statement to the rest of the league. Either way, the Thunder will gladly extend their home record to 10-0, especially against one of the league's best.
Also, I was very impressed with the way OKC's bigs defended Hibbert and West. They never got in a rhythm and it affected everything Indiana did from the first quarter on.
What was the overall reason the Thunder won?
The Pacers barely shot 40 percent, and shot closer to 30 percent for most of the game. Perkins and Sefolosha set the tone early with their defense on Indiana's bigs and George and they carried it through all four quarters. Even the bench defended well, including Adams, Jackson and Lamb.
We can't discount the fact Indiana came into the game looking to finish a five-game road trip and the second of a road back-to-back. That's tough for any team.
What was the key statistic to understanding the game?
There are a few.
-61 percent and 40 percent.
The Thunder shot 61 percent while holding their opponent to 40 percent. Not very many teams are going to win at the Peake with those numbers.
OKC pulled down 46 rebounds compared to Indiana's 29. The Pacers came into the game averaging 45 boards per game. Testament to Perkins, Ibaka, Adams and Nick Collison.
The Thunder had 27 assists on 47 made baskets, They had 11 assists in their loss to Portland.
What does this game mean going forward?
It shows that when the Thunder play like this, the only team that can beat them is themselves. Just ask Russell Westbrook.
"When we play like that, the only team that can beat us is ourselves." -Westbrook.
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant (36 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists)
Thunder Down Under: Russell Westbrook (26 points, 13 assists, 7 rebounds)
Thunder Blunder: N/A
Thunder Plunderer: Paul George (32 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals)
Next game: atÂ Atlanta Hawks (Dec. 10th) @ 6:30 PM CDT.
Our artist and purveyor of all colorful things on WTLC, W. Bennett Berry (aka Bill Champion), asked us to consider dedicating WTLC's Pacers game coverage to a close family friend who passed away yesterday. We respectfully and humbly comply. - Sherman
It would mean a great deal to me if this could be included in the post game. A very close family friend passed away yesterday, a woman who practically raised me, and it would mean a lot to her surviving family to see her recognized. - W. Bennett Berry
Cordillia "Dee-Dee" Dillard, April, 9, 1933 - December 7, 2013
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