Let’s all simmer. All settle down a bit. Five deep breaths and a count to 10. It might be difficult to temper the excitement, but perspective is always important. Just like you can’t freak too much after a loss to the Grizzlies in December, you can’t go in the opposite direction after a blowout of the Wizards in March.
Though I’ll admit, this game was fun.
As excited as we’d all like to get from this game, with it being Kendrick Perkins’ first appearance and all, remind yourself that the Thunder were playing the Wizards. And not only that, but the Wizards may have turned in one of the weakest efforts I’ve seen this season. A lot of that absolutely has to do with how well Oklahoma City executed and played on both ends as well, but the Wizards aren’t good. The Cavs are the worst, but the Wizards have played incredibly poor basketball the past month. Without Andray Blatche, without Rashard Lewis, this team was all Nick Young and John Wall’s and they didn’t play well at all. Result? Blowoutsville.
Much like the Cleveland game, the Thunder took charge early with an 8-0 run and leading by nine after the first and 21 at the half. Kevin Durant scored 32 in 27 minutes (5-6 from 3), Russell Westbrook had 18 points and 12 assists (six turns though), James Harden put up 16, Daequan Cook 18 and Serge Ibaka tied his career-high with eight blocks. It was one of those games where about 15 awesome or interesting things happened for the Thunder because it was one team just playing head and shoulders above another.
That’s about all you need to know about the game though. OKC, good. Washington, bad.
So let’s talk a second about Perkins and what he added. In the first five minutes he had pulled down five rebounds and set one illegal screen. His presence was unmistakable. He’s such a wide, strong body inside that he truly allows Ibaka to play that rover a bit more. Ibaka has been piling up the blocks lately with seven against Cleveland and now eight tonight, but both Ibaka and Perkins worked well in tandem defensively.
Obviously Perkins isn’t much of an offensive player and we knew that. No jumpshot, little to no post game and most anything he gets comes from an offensive rebound or easy at the rim. But that’s not what he’s here for. Perkins finished with six points, nine rebounds and two assists in 20 minutes and really looked good. It’s clear that he’s a difference maker on the defensive end and can plug the paint almost on his own. This was a good first run for him because it was low stress and gave him an opportunity to just kind of get a feel. Wednesday versus Miami will be a much better test.
- Here’s the kind of game it was for the Wizards: watch this wide open 3 by KD where he’s covered by seriously no one. On the next possession you can actually hear a Wiz fan yell, “Hey, 35 is on their team can you not see him!”
- There was a lot of fun stuff from this game, but maybe my favorite was this post move from Serge Ibaka. The footwork! Just gorgeous.
- The best highlight was definitely this dunk from Kevin Durant though. When the ball was in the air, I didn’t think there was any way KD was getting to it. Then he busted out his go-go-gadget arms and threw it down.
- There was a minor scare early on in the first after Kendrick Perkins exited the game. He was seen headed to the locker room with trainers. The reason? He had to pee.
- Great moment in the second quarter when Westbrook had back-to-back steals with the second coming from impressive quicks and anticipation. I really think Russ could be an All-Pro safety. He’s the Ed Reed of the NBA.
- I loved Perkins’ second illegal pick. He just walked up behind Jordan Crawford and bumped the crap out of him. It was awesome.
- Daequan Cook went 6-9 from 3 for 18 points. Grant Long said of it, “Daequan Cook is literally on fire.”
- Eric Maynor had three turnovers. Jinx! (He had nine assists though.)
- The Thunder went 12-21 from 3. KD and Cook went 11-15.
- Every active player on the Thunder roster finished as a plus in this one.
- The team got sloppy there in the second half, turning it over a number of times, but one underrated thing lately has been how KD has cut down on his. Zero in this game and lately, he really has taken care of the ball better.
- Brian Davis Line of the Night: “Here young man, I don’t think you have enough fiber in your diet.”
I’d say the Thunder wrapped up a back-to-back against the Cavs and Wizards about as good as you could. OKC won the two games by a combined 52 points and pretty much ended each in the first half. With Perkins now in the lineup, the Thunder’s kind of hitting a stride heading into the stretch run of the season. That’s seven of eight for OKC in March and with the team really clicking heading into a big one versus the Heat Wednesday, the Thunder has a little something to prove there.
Next up: At Miami Wednesday.