A sweet road victory and three games over .500 baybeee!
Brian Davis made the point at the end of the broadcast that the last time this franchise was 3 games over .500 was in 2004. Just let that sink in for a minute. I watched nearly every game that season and most games since and I can tell you that there has been some very mediocre basketball, and at times some really terrible basketball in the old green and gold and now the Thunder blue. But that aside, how great was it tonight to see the team regroup in the fourth quarter and absolutely gut punch the Griz? I mean we flat out got ripped in the third period scoring and could only manage to score a measly 10 points. That same group came back in the fourth and got the run started before the starters (with the exception of Harden) put their foot on the gas and took us home.
The Thunder had complete control of this game for three quarters. What was weird was that the three quarters weren’t concurrent. We won the first, second and fourth and got smoked in the third? You would have thought that the Griz sort of figured things out and were getting the shots and the matchups they wanted and would take a close game to the final buzzer but that didn’t happen. The thing that stood out to me was the Griz having total domination in the paint in the third and the jumphots and every other kind of shot not falling for the Thunder all at the same time. Zach Randolph was busy being a rebound hound with 13 in the quarter and 20 total boards. Of course I couldn’t help noticing that he did have 11 Orebs and 13 missed shots….nice way to pad your stats.
But like a light switch being turned on the Thunder suddenly wrested control of the paint from the Griz. Krstic and Green just got absolutely tough as nails on Gasol and Randolph in the fourth. Also Brooks began to double team whoever had the ball in the post in the fourth. Usually it was Durant cheating over. His long arms are quite a weapon. That’s just good coaching there. They don’t win this game without taking back the paint.
Anyway, rather than talk about how the team lost a 17 point lead I will just say that I think it’s a sign of growth for one of the youngest teams to come back in the fourth against a quality team on the road (that’s right, the Griz don’t suck anymore). These were lost games last year. Now the team believes.
- Lots of nice performances tonight. I want to again highlight the two bulls in the paint. Krstic had 15 and 8 and 2 blocks on 7/10 shooting in just 28 minutes. Colly was 8 and 7 in just 16 minutes.
- Where did Serge Ibaka go? That guy that rebounded and was a weakside terror?
- Harden had a bad shooting night but he was big in this game. 5 boards 4 assists and 2 steals. Thabeet swatted him twice, but you won’t see that when he gets some more experience. I also think the dude has been going crazy in the weight room; he’s getting some serious size on those guns.
- Westbrook was the good Westbrook tonight, he played Conley about even. I think Conley is a pretty nice option for the Griz. Not flashy but very smooth and efficient.
- I was excited to see Demarre Carroll in the game. One of my favorite college players this past season. He did absolutely nothing tonight however.
- I was watching Livingston tonight to see if he could stay in front of his man with the bionic knee. I think he did a good job on Jamaal Tinsley. He never got torched from my view.
- Did you notice Harden is finishing games instead of Sefolosha? Sef went back in with a minute to go but the game was over and Harden played nearly the whole fourth with the starters.
- O.J.Mayo is supposed to be 6’4″, yet he is shorter than Westbrook and considerably shorter than Harden.
- Sort of funny numerology with the box score. The two teams were within one of each other in made field goals, had the exact same number of free throw attempts, and the same number of of threes made and just one off on threes attempted. Yet, the Griz attempted 8 more field goals and lost by 8. One big factor was the TEN missed FT’s by the Griz. They can look at those 10 points they left on the board and see how they lost.
Just a great win for confidence with some of the league’s heavyweights up on the schedule.