The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Denver Nuggets at home, 117-93. The Thunder turned a close game at halftime, where they only led by 8, into a rout mid-way through the 3rd quarter. Outscoring Denver by 17 in the decisive 3rd, the Thunder eased their way into their 3rd win of the season in resolute fashion.
The Thunder were led by Kevin Durant, who continued his game-by-game improvement by scoring a game-high 25 points on 8-11 shooting. Serge Ibaka had a huge bounce-back game, scoring 18 points, grabbing 7 rebounds, and showing a new dimension in handing out 4 assists. Shooting guard Andre Roberson, oft-criticized for his lack of offensive contribution, chipped in 10 points and 7 rebounds.
The Nuggets were led by Danilo Gallinari's 15 points and 4 rebounds.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
After the top-heavy win against the Orlando Magic, which saw the duo of Durant and Russell Westbrook combine for 91 points, it was clear that coach Billy Donovan wanted balance this time out against a rebuilding Nuggets team, and he got his wish. With Russell Westbrook leading the attack and finishing with 8 assists to go along with his 15 points, the team finished with a total of 32 assists on 45 made baskets. Seven different Thunder got into double figures on the night, including three bench guys, Dion Waiters, Enes Kanter, and D.J. Augustin, who played a major role by shooting 4-5 from 3-point range while handing out 3 assists.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder won?
The defense was renewed in focus as well. Donovan has the defense playing with much better awareness, and it showed by the team holding Denver to only 38% shooting from the floor. Denver's game was nearly entirely predicated on drive-and-kick offense, with many of the outside shots contested.
What impressed me most was how the defense was primarily focused on making passes challenging, instead of constantly going for blocks and steals. The net result was that Denver turned into an unsure team in the 3rd quarter, and it allowed OKC to speed ahead, never to look back.
Thunder Wonder: Durant, with 25-5-2 in 28 minutes
Thunder Down Under: Ibaka, with big bounce-back game, 18 points, 7 boards, 4 assists, 5 blocks
Thunder Blunder: Adams, who looked out of sorts and struggled to contribute, with only 2 points and 3 boards
Thunder Plunderer: Will Barton, 15 points and 3 rebounds off the bench
Next game: @ Houston Rockets on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015