The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, 103-91. Kevin Durant played in his 2nd game of the season, and his team's efforts helped earn him his first win of this year's campaign. It was an uneven affair, as the Thunder worked their way out to a double-digit lead early on but were not able to pull away from the single win Sixers, who hung in via offensive rebounding and a high level of energy.
The Thunder were led by Russell Westbrook, who finished with 27 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals, but was slightly offset by 6 turnovers. Kevin Durant finished with only 10 points on 3-11 shooting, often looking out of synch and with heavy legs. The Thunder bench came up big once again, finishing with 38 points.
The 76ers were led by Robert Covington, who finished with 21 points.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
While it would have been nice to see the Thunder team clicking for the first time this season, the most important thing is that this wasn't a loss. The Thunder didn't lose ground with this game, and climb 1 win closer to .500.
That said, for the second game in a row, the Thunder bench looked much more polished than the starters. This is to be expected, since the duo of Westbrook and Durant are essentially playing the first week of their season so far, and they are showing the signs of inactivity. The promising thing is that the bench's trial by fire month of November appears to have steeled them for the long haul, as they often looked more organized, worked for better shots, and did a great job stretching the lead.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder won?
The Thunder won because the 76ers aren't really trying to win this season. To be sure their players did play hard and won a key element in offensive rebounding, but if Philly had even been mediocre on the night it would have been a tight game in the end. It is commendable that they never let the game get away, but in the end they simply didn't have the talent level that the Thunder boast.
- Steven Adams played only 13 minutes on the night, and while he got off to a good offensive start and finished with 7 points, he failed to grab a single rebound on the night. Adams' inability to help on the defensive glass enabled the 76ers to grab 19 offensive rebounds, which helped keep them in the game.
- Jeremy Lamb continues his impressive run. Once again he shot an incredible percentage from the floor, connecting on 6-7 shots to score 15 points to go along with 4 rebounds and 2 assists. While Lamb still struggles on defense (he often lost his man to give up open corner-3's) his offensive capabilities are being made manifest. When Lamb doesn't have to be a primary offensive focal point, he has demonstrated consistently that he understands how to find good shots.
- Kendrick Perkins once again anchored a good 2nd unit offensive attack, running the high post to great effect. While it seems almost comical that a guy who can't shoot or dribble would be useful that far from the rim, the results are evident - he understands spacing and passing lanes and often sprung his teammates for open looks. He also led the team with 9 rebounds.
- Anthony Morrow is gunning for points. He shot only 3-12 on the night (1-7 from 3-point range) and that's not a good number for a shooting specialist. Part of the problem appears to be that he doesn't really know where to expect to get his shots up, so he's hoisting them whenever he has daylight. OKC needs to be more intentional in where they set him up so he stays in his hot zones.
- Alexey Shved looks like Derek Smalls on bass. Just keep him away from the zucchini.
Thunder Wonder: Russell Westbrook, 27 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals
Thunder Down Under: Jeremy Lamb, who hit back-to-back 3's to ice the game.
Thunder Blunder: Steven Adams for failing to grab a single rebound.
Thunder Plunderer: Robert Covington, 21 points, 3-6 from 3-point range.
Next game: @ Detroit Pistons on Sunday @ 5PM CDT.