You know it’s been a good night at The Peake when the main things you’re paying attention in the fourth quarter is if Kevin Durant might get his first ever triple-double, if James Harden might top his career-high and if Cole Aldrich might accidentally decapitate one of his own teammates swiping wildly at every Golden State shot.
The two games Oklahoma City played in Oracle Arena against the Warriors were high scoring, tight games but the one played Friday in the Thunder’s building only had one team doing much scoring. I don’t know if the Thunder were ultrafocused from letting one slip away against the Rockets or if they’re just that good at home, but either way, a 110-87 win says a little something.
James Harden, doing that whole Sixth Man of the Year thing, came off the Thunder bench in the second quarter and basically sparked the run that ended this one. He scored 15 of his game-high 25 in the second and helped take a seven-point first quarter deficit to a 10-point halftime lead as OKC outscored the Warriors 38-22 in the second.
The Thunder moved the ball really well totaling 24 assists for the second consecutive home game, but the turnovers (19) and offensive rebounds for the Warriors (22) are two places that Brooks can get after his team about tomorrow. Though he said before the game that he might just stop talking to them about the turnovers and give them the silent treatment. Why not, because it doesn’t seem like whatever else he’s been doing is really sinking in.
Still, that’s picking nits at a 23-point win. Because when you hold a team to 34.8 percent from the field, they’re going to get a crack at a lot of offensive rebounds. The big thing that matters if those rebounds are converted into points, which in this case, they were not.
OKC gave up an average of 112.5 points in the two games at Golden State. They held the Warriors to 87 tonight at home. Better defense, worse Golden State shooting and no Monta Ellis eruption did the trick. Outside of David Lee, who really did almost all of his work in the first 16 minutes, the Warriors got nothing. Consider this one: The Warriors had scored at least 90 points in 18 straight games before the Thunder put the locks on them Friday.
Pretty much exactly how you’d hope to start a five-game homestand taking place in a week. An easy win, a good performance and the starters get some fourth quarter rest. The Warriors had been playing well and as Mark Jackson talked about before the game, had finally started to feel like they were good. They approached this game as a setting-the-bar type of night, something to measure themselves after a stint of recent success. The conclusion? Not quite there, Warriors.
- Westbrook went down late in the third after rolling his ankle and was taken to the locker room. The official word is a right ankle sprain and he did not return to the game. The Thunder were up by 20 most of the fourth though and following the game looked entirely fine as he didn’t have any ice on it and wasn’t limping. Westbrook hasn’t missed a game in four years in the NBA, so I doubt he’ll sit out Sunday.
- By the way, KD didn’t get that triple-double, because like the last time he was closing in on it, he sat the entire fourth per the blowout.
- Westbrook deserves some serious credit for his defense on Ellis. Remember, last time Ellis went off for 48. This time, you could see Russ was ready for the challenge. He didn’t let Ellis breathe, didn’t give him any clean jumpers and between Ibaka and Mohammed crashing around the rim every time Ellis drove, there just wasn’t anything easy. In the end, Ellis wound up with 37 fewer points than last time.
- Westbrook, Durant and Harden combined for 66 points on 39 shots.
- Bill Simmons has dubbed Royal Ivey the top chemist in the NBA because of his bench and locker room chemistry. But he got real minutes again in this one and knocked down three 3s and scored nine points. If he’s going to play like that, I’m going to start calling him Heisenberg.
- Brooks: “We still had a few too many turnovers and a few too many offensive rebounds given up.” I’m going to keep that one on the clipboard to just copy and paste for every recap the rest of the season.
- Brooks on injuries: “It’s all part of it. You play through it. You can’t do nothing about it.”
- One thing about Westbrook’s assists: He only had three tonight, but that’s just not fair. Because there were at least five left on the floor by his teammates. Blocked dunks, missed layups, bad jumpers — Westbrook did his part setting them up. They just didn’t finish the rest. Now obviously the overall trend isn’t entirely on that, but this game Westbrook could’ve, and probably should’ve, had eight or nine.
- The Thunder picked up their eighth consecutive home win, which is the first time that’s happened since 2004-05.
- There really is something beautiful about the two man game between Harden and Collison. It’s so entrepreneurial. There’s nothing set about it. You can tell everything that happens from it comes directly from having tremendous feel and chemistry with each other.
- Thabo was wearing a hard cast before the game and will miss up to another month because of his sore foot.
- With Perk out, Cole Aldrich got legit minutes. The verdict? Slightly on the good side of meh. His very first play he but on a pump fake and came crashing down on top of KD’s head. He was decent — two points, three rebounds and a block — and it’s definitely easy to appreciate his energy. I think he just might’ve been trying a little too hard.
- Something you don’t see all the time: After Lazar Hayward got hit in the face late in the fourth and stayed on a knee, KD, Harden, Mohammed and Ibaka all walked from the bench to check on him.
- Some guy named the “Human Flag” performed at halftime and basically he just did a manly pole dance. Just a buff gymnast type doing side pullups and such. But the best part? He wore jeans for some reason. I don’t know why, but it killed me.
- KD seriously cannot keep his mouthpiece in his mouth.
- Nazr Mohammed looked good in his first start of the season. Not a big line, but quality work. Fun Nazr stat: Mohammed’s last start was March 16 of last season against Miami. The Thunder are now 7-1 when Mohammed starts.
- The Ryans — Rex, Buddy and Rob — were in the house tonight.
- Brian Davis Line of the Night via @DustRagu: “I’m gonna have a little bit of toast with some rattlesnake jam.”
Next up: Home against the Nuggets Sunday.