A most excellent team effort tonight taking care of the home court against a team with a lesser record. That’s what this team needs to do: beat the lesser teams and pick off a few of the elite teams when everything goes just right.
This was a pretty even victory in that it wasn’t the Kevin Durant show and a cameo by everyone else like we’ve seen more than a few times. Tonight we had six Thunder players with double figures scoring including Serge with a new career high of 12 points in 23 minutes.
In fact, to me the real story of the game was the second unit and not the first. The lineup of Livingston, Harden, Green (OK, he’s a starter) Ibaka and Collison was absolutely the linchpin for this victory. On that second unit in the fourth quarter they played some great basketball on both sides of the ball. Harden had 10 and Ibaka had 6, which accounts for half of the scoring for the entire team in the quarter.
It’s nice to see our top draft pick find his place and actually PACE that second unit. The bearded one hit jumpers, he drove the lane and he finished at the line. It was like he decided that the second unit was his and he was the man. Good for him; especially when he delivers.
The Thunder also hit the deep ball tonight which for us is a nice surprise. 8/15 from three is mighty fine territory for the Thunder; it was the difference between eeking out a close game and putting your foot on the opponent’s throat.
- I said in the recap for the Cleveland game that for the Thunder a trend seems to be building: that we need to sink about 35 field goals or so to win the game. Less than 35 and we have a terrible W/L record; above 35 and we are smiling. Tonight the 37 field goals was great for getting us off the three game losing streak schneid.
- James Harden gets the game ball in my opinion. Brian Davis and Grant Long gave it to Serge, who would be a good second choice, but Harden showed off more of his complete, old school game. 5/11 shooting (2/3 from three) with three boards, 8 assists, a steal, a block and 14 points. Oh yeah and he was a team leading +19 while he was on the court.
- Serge must get his props. 6/9 shooting, 5 boards and a block. Iblaka was +17.
- I think Brooks has settled on his big man rotation. Green and Krstic, subbed by Collison and Iblaka. In no specific order. Sorry Etan, sorry D.J.; these four are going to get the minutes in Brook’s tight 9 man rotation. Iblaka is a player. He can hit that little elbow jumper and he can play good face up perimeter defense. We already know he can block shots and get some boards.
- James Harden uses the screen more effectively than anybody else on the team. When Colly or Krstic or whoever is screening for him, he goes left, right, left or whatever until the defender either gets leveled trying to fight over it or gets left in the dust on the wrong side of it. He did that in college and he’s a freaking animal doing it to the second unit of the opponent.
- With the advent of Iblaka is anybody missing Chris Wilcox right now?
- We’ve had a lot of Russell Westbrook hate on DT the last few games so I need to point out that RW had a Assist to Turn ratio of 5:0 tonight. He also got to the line 12 times.
- I haven’t watched the Pistons all that much so I’m by no means an expert, but why is Chucky Atkins starting? If you are short of guards (no Ben Gordon or Rip) why not give most of those minutes to Will Bynum? To the naked eye he’s got twice the skill and talent of Chucky.
- I was really getting tired of watching the Pistons get to the cup on our defense in the first half. I don’t know what the points in the paint for the first half was, but I bet it was ugly. Then, for whatever reason they went away from it in the second half.
- Probably the other big factor in this win was the free throw shooting. Detroit fouled us a lot tonight: 31 times to 16 for the Thunder. That will give a coach an ulcer. It resulted in 20 extra cracks from the freebie line for the Thunder. All those fouls made the scoring opportunities (FGA’s +FTA’s) skew hard in the Thunder’s favor at 110-100.
- Hey guess what? We get Houston tomorrow. You know that team that frustrates the crap out of the Thunder? They are a matchup from hell with their weird small ball thingy. Whatever!