I kept telling myself that this game was never going to be in doubt. As the Thunder’s lead kept shrinking from 21 to 13 to eight to five and finally all the way down to three with under a minute left in the fourth, I didn’t feel like Oklahoma City was about the blow the game.
The fans in the arena obviously felt that way too as they kept filing out. Heck, I think the team didn’t think there was any way this game would get anywhere near close. They sort of checked out with about eight minutes left.
But the Warriors are a team that can make shots and make them in a hurry. I remember one of the games against them last season in OKC where we saw almost exactly the same thing. But I’m not going to lie, while I didn’t really think the Thunder would lose, I wasn’t exactly sure they’d win either. It’s a weird feeling to be unsatisfied with a good home win, but that’s kind of what happens when a 23-point lead gets blown. Especially when the Thunder has another game Monday night and had the opportunity to rest some starters in the fourth quarter here.
Regardless, it’s a win and for most of the night, I thought the Thunder played really, really well. From the opening tip, the Thunder had complete control of the game, the tempo and the Warriors. A lot of OKC’s rhythm and flow was aided by the Warriors uninspired defensive play, but this was a night the Thunder really shared and moved the ball.
Kevin Durant returned from his strained knee and looked to be in a good flow early on. He was relaxed and totally let his points come to him. He was 8-16 from the floor for 28 points, plus he grabbed eight rebounds. He just spaces OKC’s offense so much better, plus there’s a guy there to bail the Thunder out when nothing is available. The fact he can get a decent look at any point in a possession is a really nice luxury.
I’m copping out here, but I really don’t have the energy to bark about the ugly offense, bad defense and complete breakdown in focus in the fourth quarter where the Warriors outscored OKC 39-24 and made this closer than it should have been. I just don’t feel like doing it because I was pretty much convinced with 10 minutes left in the game that the Thunder was cruising to an easy victory and it made me happy. At least our heart rates only had to raise for a couple minutes late in this one rather than the whole night, right? Right?
- Russell Westbrook did a great job of playing setup man, as he had 13 assists to go with 19 points and seven rebounds. He had five turnovers, but really you can take away two of those because Nenad Krstic just fumbled away passes from Westbrook that he should’ve caught.
- Serge Ibaka made a great contribution off the bench. He finished with 19 points on 8-10 shooting, plus eight rebounds and three blocks.
- The Thunder won this game with 18 offensive rebounds and a 37-40 performance at the free throw line.
- OKC also ended up giving the Warriors 18 offensive boards but for some reason they didn’t seem as big as the Thunder’s.
- Games against the Warriors always just seem to have a weird feel to them, don’t they? I’m not saying the two teams aren’t playing hard, but it feels like a certain amount of energy and intensity is missing, no?
- I have to share this with you guys – Mrs. DT has some kind of weird irrational hatred of Stephen Curry. She’s disliked him since he was at Davidson. At one point she said, “I want to walk up, face swipe him and then push him down.” I don’t know why either.
- Curry though was the reason this game ever got close. That guy can shoot. He went for 39 on 14-20 shooting and 4-7 from 3. When he gets hot, he’s so tough to handle.
- Jeff Green quietly put up 17 points and eight rebounds, outplaying David Lee.
- How about Scott Brooks’ new hairdo?
- Did it seem like there was an inordinate amount of delayed whistles in this game or was that just me?
- Eric Maynor had maybe the worst five seconds I’ve ever seen a professional basketball player have. He turned the ball over under his own goal by completely fumbling it into the hands of Monta Ellis after some light pressure and then to compound things, he fouled Jeff Adrian badly to give the Warriors an and-one. That’s how the Thunder started the fourth quarter. I think it was kind of an omen for the bad quarter that was coming.
- Third quarter, Westbrook poked the ball away and KD gathered it with the two of them all alone in the open court. Durant tossed the ball to Westbrook who was ahead and of course Westbrook dropped it back to KD. I just love that. I love how much these guys play for each other. Never any jealousy, never any greed.
The Thunder may have got caught looking ahead late in the game and there’s really no excuse for letting this game get close, but I always have a problem with being that dejected after a win. The Thunder’s defense completely collapsed late and the offense didn’t know where to go for points. The starters re-entered after the bench let the lead slip to 13 and after getting it back up to 17, there were a few more lapses and before you knew it, everyone was feeling a little squirmish. But I like wins and despite this game being close in the end, it still was sort of a cruising five-point win. And I like wins, so I’m happy.
Plus having KD back on the floor is a wonderful thing.
Next up: At the Bulls Monday night.