Behind a strong run at the beginning of the second half, the Oklahoma City Thunder were able to wallop the Philadelphia 76ers, 111-97. The Sixers would get as close as 14 with four minutes to go, but the Thunder's win was never really in danger.
That being said, Philadelphia was just down by six at the end of the first half. Nik Stauskas delivered a particularly powerful performance off of the bench, and had scored 13 points by halftime. That included three threes. Other Sixers had bit roles. By the half, Ish Smith had six points, Hollis Thompson had five, Nerlens Noel had four, and Jerami Grant had four. But there really wasn't a consistent offense there. The Sixers passed it well, but typically just didn't have the shooting or scoring power to get the ball in a good position. By the time the third quarter rolled around, the Thunder simply left the Sixers' shooters open and protected the rim. On the whole, the Sixers were 1 of 11 outside the paint during the third quarter. The reason isn't surprising: The shots were taken by Jerami Grant, Nerlens Noel, Ish Smith, Carl Landry, Isaiah Canaan, and Ish Smith. Not exactly the most accurate collection of shooters. Meanwhile, the main pure shooter, Nik Stauskas, was reduced to 3 shots in the paint.
On the offensive end, the Thunder were hard to watch at first. Serge Ibaka sat out the game with rest, so Nick Collison replaced him in the starting lineup. That left the Thunder with absolutely no spacing as they pounded the ball inside. At the end of the first quarter, the Thunder were shooting a sub-optimal 6 of 14 in the paint. The second quarter saw things open up a bit for OKC as they improved to 6 of 11 in the paint. The third quarter was when the Thunder really blew it open, shooting 62% overall. Most of it was the Thunder just having a craftier, more well-rehearsed offense. OKC was running set pieces off of Westbrook pick and rolls, and someone was always open. The Thunder got out in transition, and KD got his mid-range game going. By the time the fourth rolled around, all the Thunder had to do was rely upon some of their lesser-known weapons.
- Glad we found a way to get Ibaka some rest. He seems to be struggling, and has had injury issues in the past.
- Westbrook had FOUR dunks tonight, along with a triple double. Awesome game to watch on his end.
- Seriously, check out this dunk:
- KD was solid and sly as usual, great job getting mismatches.
- Nick Collison hit a surprise push shot, and finished on the pick and roll once. Terrific defense on Nerlens Noel, who posted up a lot and went 5 of 15. Extremely solid 6 point game from Mr. Thunder.
- Steven Adams did his usual pick and roll finishing thing, rock solid.
- Andre Roberson hit a non-corner three today, and had an alley-oop dunk.
- Mitch McGary had 6 crazy minutes, hit a pair of relatively tough looking mid-range jumpers.
- Kyle Singler had one push shot. Other than that, ugh.
- Enes Kanter was 6 of 10, but gave up a bit on defense tonight. Also Kanter had 6 turnovers. Three of them were offensive fouls. Look at who's in front of you, Enes!
- Cameron Payne had just 8 minutes, but showed excellent patience and ball control on an assist to Kanter.
- Dion Waiters: 3-10, 9 points, 2 assists. Not terrible, since Waiters had license to shoot against this bad team. Just happy to see him somewhat get back into his groove.
- Randy Foye had 5 assists, 9 points, a crafty off the dribble layup, and a difficult off the dribble three. This guy was built to play two guard, and I really like him in that role. All of Foye's assists were to big men.
- Nazt Mohammed cameo!
- Anthony Morrow- DNP-CD. I don't mind this given how cold he's been recently, but I know a lot of people disagree.
- "That's some rattlesnake jam!" "Oh, no." "That's not rattlesnake jam?!" "No, that was silk!" "Silk! Well, you know what I'm gonna say!" "..." "'That's nasty!'" "You know, you could just say that it's silky smooth." "That's not right, man. Not right." Michael Cage and Brian Davis
Thunder Wonder: Russell Westbrook, flying like pie in the sky
Thunder Down Under: Kevin Durant, the mid-range madman
Thunder Blunder: Kyle Singler, can't even pile on to the blowout.
Thunder Plunderer: Nick Stauskas, Sauce Castillo
Next Game: At the Indiana Pacers, Thursday, March 20th, 6 PM Central Standard Time.
What did you think of tonight's game? Drop a comment and let us know!