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Stupid Thunder. I want to be mad at you. I want to be upset at the pathetic defense you played. I want to be ticked about the 17 turnovers. I want to be cheesed at the fact you let an inferior Wolves team come within a hair of beating you in what would’ve been a truly deflating loss.
But I just can’t be. Wins are wins and no matter how they come, they always feel good.
However, here’s something I can be slightly miffed about: The fact that I can’t fully enjoy the best game of Kevin Durant’s career because the team played so poorly overall.
Durant, was ridiculous. Like beyond ridiculous. He didn’t shoot the ball all that well in the first half, taking 11 points with him to halftime. But then he scored 16 in the third. And then 16 more in the fourth. (That’s 32 in the second half.) Then he dropped in four more in the overtime period to match his career high of 47 (15-28 from the floor, 4-8 from 3, 13-14 from the line). And to match the career night of scoring, he grabbed a career-high 18 rebounds, had two blocks, two steals and two assists. Oh, and with his team kind of sputtering along in a tight game late, he scored 16 straight points and then hit an insane step-back jumper with 28 seconds left that was eventually the game-winner.
Say it with me. Holy crap.
But we wouldn’t have gotten there without the huge runner Jeff Green hit in regulation with 4.3 seconds left to knot the game at 110-110. The play appeared to be an option for KD at the top of the key with Green floating to the corner. And if Durant’s pass would’ve been on target, I think Green is taking a 3 to try and win it. Except KD’s pass was a bit wide and Green had to gather. He hesitated for a second and then attacked the lane, hitting a very nice one-handed runner to tie it up. Kevin Love rimmed out a 12-foot hook and we were off to five more minutes.
It really was quite the game while at the same time being a truly horrible game. But the end result if far better than the alternative. I would’ve been really mad had Oklahoma City wasted KD’s huge night because of lackluster defense and a lack of focus with the ball.
- Russell Westbrook had a rough night. He finished with 16 points but on 7-19 shooting. He had eight assists, but eight turnovers. He did have four steals, which was nice. But he was just out of control for a good part of the game. At times in the fourth, I was actually hoping Scott Brooks would hang with Eric Maynor because he was handling the offense so much better. KD was running off screens and Maynor was setting him up. Of course Russ hit a giant layup late which is precisely why he was in, but just for a moment, I was wondering.
- Two massive efforts from Thabo Sefolosha and Nick Collison. Thabo was a menace on the defensive end. He locked down on Michael Beasley who had 26 points mid-way through the third. Thabo switched onto Beasley and did a wonderful job challenging shots and forcing jumpers. He line isn’t impressive, but the way he played in overtime really shows his value. Collison, was just his normal good self. Defended the pick-and-roll and battled on the inside. Plus, his screens were a big reason KD got such nice looks.
- However, Thabo, again, blowing it on a 2-on-1 fastbreak. The charge call on him was horrendous, but he never should’ve been in that position. Just give the ball up to KD on a bounce and get out of the way.
- Durant played 50 minutes tonight. He didn’t come out of the game to start the fourth which I thought was a smart move by Brooks. KD just got started cooking at the end of the third hitting that deep buzzer-beating 3 and there was no reason to mess with his rhythm.
- Jeff Green was terrific in the first half. He had 13 points and seven rebounds. But here’s the thing with Green. He finished with 19 points and eight rebounds. Why can’t he ever play a full game? Now part of the scoring drop was because of the fact everything went through KD late, but why did he stop rebounding? That’s frustrating, because he played such a nice first half and of course, hit the big shot in the fourth.
- James Harden only got 27 minutes despite playing really well on both ends. He hit three 3s and dropped 13 points. I’d say he’s coming around, but the only three shots he made all night were those 3s.
- I really feel like Grant Long has been good lately. I think he’s becoming a more insightful color man that provides decent analysis instead of just trying to be the fun-loving announcer that gets excited. On the other hand, what in the crap was wrong with Brian Davis in the fourth quarter? Seriously, I want someone to tell me. He pulled the tiskit tasket thing again plus did what I think was a horrible impression of Sylvester the Cat.
- Kevin Love: 31 points, 21 rebounds. He’s just insane. Plus, 3-3 from 3. Can he be in the 3-point contest. With a clean look, he’s almost automatic.
- One thing I think Jeff Green needs to improve on is catching and shooting. He always seems to be re-setting his feet as he catches every time. To me, that tosses off his timing and makes him drift just a hair. If you’ll notice, a lot of times he isn’t straight up and down on a catch-and-shoot 3.
- The Thunder beautifully executed an inbounds play to end the third with just a few seconds left. Where has that crap been? Why didn’t they run something like that against New Orleans?
- One more time: How ridiculous was KD tonight? Good grief. However, I’m a little bummed the Thunder didn’t secure that rebound off of Corey Brewer’s miss to that KD could knock down two free throws and officially top his career-high.
- Teams that defend KD well don’t let him catch the ball clean. They fight him all the way around, but Minnesota’s defenders didn’t really do that. Ron Artest always has himself between KD and the ball. Wesley Johnson, Beasley and the others that checked Durant tried some of that, but they just let Durant get away. And of course KD is so good, you give him an inch and he’ll burn you.
The way the Thunder ended up winning this game was because of stellar free throw shooting (26-27) and the fact the Wolves were more careless with the ball than the Thunder (20 turnovers). Minnesota beat OKC on the glass 53-43 and made one more basket. OKC hit an extra 3-pointer and eight more free throws. That’s what proved to be the difference.
Next up: Home against the Wizards Friday.