In a complete blowout, the Oklahoma City Thunder have defeated the Washington Wizards, 116-95. Kevin Durant was at center stage throughout the first half, getting booed loudly by his hometown crowd. Despite the boos, Durant finished the first half with 14 points on 50% shooting, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists. Unfortunately, Durant was also bothered by a strain in his left calf. As a result, Durant stayed in the locker room during the second half. Durant's status moving forward is unknown.
The Thunder seemed to be just fine without Durant for the final two quarters. Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka made for a powerful pick and roll combo in the third quarter, and the Wizards had no defensive answer. Offensively, the Wizards were only able to make a single shot outside the paint during the entire third quarter. By the time the fourth rolled around, the Thunder were up by 26 and had the game well in hand. Serge Ibaka finished the game with a season-high 23 points and three made threes. Russell Westbrook was impressive as always, finishing with a triple-double of 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists.
Most remarkable about the Thunder's win is the extremely high level of offense. OKC finished the game shooting 65.2% from three, went to the line 29 times, and assisted 27 times on 44 made shots.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
It was a real team win from the get-go. Russell Westbrook had 6 assists in the first 6 minutes, while only taking two shots. Both Roberson and Adams were entrusted with key possessions early, and it paid off. Roberson hit a really nice layup over Gortat in the first, as well as hitting a corner three. Meanwhile, Adams had a really nice flip shot. Meanwhile, Serge Ibaka was taking advantage of Kris Humphries. Ibaka hit a good number of mid-range shots against Kris and was big enough to beat him on the boards.
But Durant was the player that really fueled the Thunder's dominance early. Within the span of 2:09, Durant went on an 8-2 run against the Wizards. This includes two deep off the dribble threes. At that point, OKC had their largest lead of 9.
Then, some early foul trouble got Enes Kanter into the game early. This allowed OKC's defense to go downhill a bit, as Kanter's speed was clearly exploited a few times. Later, Gary Neal was able to take advantage of Augustin's small stature a few times as well. But the bench kept offensively producing. Augustin and Kanter were magnificent in the pick and roll together. Waiters did nothing but drive to the rim and space the floor as a shooter.
After the bench treaded water, KD, Westbrook, and Ibaka came in to close the second quarter. KD was drawing fouls, despite being limited by injury. Westbrook hit a couple of nice shots around screens. And Ibaka was spacing the floor like always. On the other end of the floor, the Wizards just weren't able to hit from three, and they kept falling farther behind. There was clear frustration from Washington, as Marcin Gortat and Kris Humphries got into a shouting match with each other during a late second quarter free throw.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder won?
The Wizards just aren't shooting three pointers very well. Bradley Beal is normally the lynchpin of Washington's perimeter threats, but he's out with injury. This meant Washington was really left without a solid shooter, period. Gary Neal can hit threes, and so can Jared Dudley and Ramon Sessions. But none of them were ever really able to make the Thunder respect the Wizards on the perimeter as a unit. Thus, the Thunder got to settle into playing conservative defense and forcing bad shots.
Think of it this way: The Thunder won by 24, but only forced 8 turnovers.
- Steven Adams was taunted by the jumbotron when he shot free throws during the second quarter. Apparently, everyone got free Chick-Fil-A if Adams missed both free throws. The crowd went wild, and Adams predictably missed both. Ugh.
- Speaking of Adams, offensive foul trouble limited his presence in the first half. Adams was certainly providing a lot of interior defense, but the Thunder proved to be extremely effective with Ibaka and Kanter in the same lineup.
- Kyle Singler had a tough night initially, getting stranded out on the perimeter and forced to dribble the ball. But the bench was clearly behind Singler. Love how they cheered Singler on as soon as he got to the line and did something positive.
- Enes Kanter is 1 of 3 outside the paint, and all shots were totally uncontested. I'd still rather leave that shot to Ibaka, but Kanter had a great game overall. Kanter played with a lot of passion against DeJuan Blair, and used his superior speed to his advantage. I also think Kanter had little trouble getting through Gortat on the pick and roll.
- Andre Roberson had a sick reverse layup during the second half.
- Anthony Morrow didn't get a single second of significant time tonight, and a lot of fans are furious. I understand why the fans are angry, but I'm honestly with Donovan on this decision. Morrow can't play next to Augustin because he's too small. If our backup PG was Rajon Rondo, it'd be a different story.
- Really terrible game from John Wall. He was able to take only two shots within five feet of the basket.
- Nick Collison had a jumper! Cameron Payne had a really acrobatic layup! (Every active Thunder player scored! Always an awesome feeling.)
Thunder Wonder: Russell Westbrook. Despite bad shooting and a few TOs, he REALLY made the ball move.
Thunder Down Under: Kevin Durant. Double-Double in a half is incredible, as were those deep threes.
Thunder Blunder: Anthony Morrow, 1-6 from the floor
Thunder Plunderer: Otto Porter Jr, 14 Points, 2 Steals
Next Game: Versus the Philadelphia 76ers, Friday, November 13th, 6 PM Central Standard Time.