After 48 minutes and two overtimes, the Thunder managed to pull out a 139-136 victory over the Orlando Magic on the road. Kevin Durant had 43 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, and two key blocks that sealed the game. Westbrook had a very physical 48 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists.
(I can't believe I was worried that I wasn't going to have enough to write about for my first recap.)
After playing inconsistently the whole game, the Thunder are able to put it together in the fourth quarter
This game featured a lot of runs; many of them not in the Thunder's favor. They went into halftime down 14 points, came out of the locker room and made a 10-2 run to cut the lead to 6, only to watch as the Magic responded with a 10-0 run of their own. OKC kept putting together sequences that made it seem like they were capable of playing good basketball on both sides of the court, only to turn the ball over several times in a row and give the Magic easy transition points. Finally in the fourth quarter, they did it. They denied Vucevic prime positioning down low time and time again, and managed to keep the turnovers to a minimum as they won the fourth quarter by 18 points as Westbrook hit the most Russell Westbrook shots of all time to send the game to overtime.
We finally got to see the Westbrook, Morrow, Singler, Durant, Ibaka lineup
I've been excited to see this lineup ever since Kevin Arnovitz brought it up on a recent Lowe Post episode (R.I.P. Grantland) and we only got to see it for a couple of minutes, but I thought it looked good. It didn't do well in terms of +/-, but it sure generated a lot of open looks and if they can get a couple of stops, that lineup will be deadly.
Ibaka sat for most of the fourth and both overtime periods
There is no word that Ibaka is injured, so it is a little bit mysterious that he he didn't really get into the game at all during the final stretch. He hadn't been playing his usual defense and he had missed a few too many open jumpers, but it seemed a little harsh to bench him for the Kanter/Adams combination that we saw for most of the final 20 minutes. Kanter actually played serviceable defense and was an absolute beast from the low block in the fourth, so going with, "the hot hand" might have worked out well here.
Westbrook's physicality caused a lot of problems for both Payton and Oladipo
Elfrid Payton was in foul trouble for most of the game which was mainly a result of Westbrook's speed and strength. Almost every time he posted Payton, it either resulted in a foul or a bucket. Oladipo also had trouble containing Russell's post ups, although not to the same degree as the Magic's point guard.
Please don't play Dion in late game situations
Waiters had an absolutely great block on Oladipo on a key position late in the game. Excluding that play, he almost ended up costing the Thunder the game. It's clear the Durant and Westbrook have faith in him, (it looked like Durant called a clear out for Waiters early in the first overtime) but Morrow needs to be the one ending games. There were several possessions at critical junctures of the game where Dion seemed to think that the best idea for the Thunder at that moment was an iso play while K.D. and Russ waited on the wings. That can't happen when you're in a tight game like they were tonight.
Thunder Wonder: Russell Westbrook- 48 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, and the highlight of the year so far.
Thunder Down Under: Kevin Durant- 43 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks that ended the game.
Thunder Blunder: Dion Waiters and his wasted possessions.
Thunder Plunderer: Victor Oladipo and his off the dribble antics that were almost enough.
Next game: vs. Denver Nuggets, on Sun. Nov 1 @ 6 PM CDT