(Editor’s note: Royce is away this weekend, and I was otherwise disposed for much of Friday evening myself. So you’ll have to bear with us with only a short and late recap for this game. Back to business as usual for Sunday’s game. Thanks for reading.)
Well, that certainly feels better.
For the first time this season, the Thunder looked like one of the best teams in the NBA in burying an inferior opponent. And even though it sounds silly to label a 7-3 start to a season as rocky, that’s what Oklahoma City would have been staring at with anything less than a dominating victory. Thankfully for Thunder fans, that’s what was in store for New Orleans on Friday night.
The Thunder sprinted out to a 30-point lead in the first half and led by as many as 34 points in the second half, and the Hornets were only able to get the score to something approaching respectability because the Thunder starters sat out for the entire fourth quarter. OKC’s reserves didn’t acquit themselves well in getting outscored 28-16 in the final frame, but hey. If that’s the biggest complaint of the night, then nothing bad really happened.
For the Thunder, it was all about efficiency from the floor. OKC shot 54 percent from the field and made 14 of 29 3-point shots, terrorizing New Orleans from the opening tip. The Thunder actually compiled 31 dimes in this one, which is an amazing number for this team. The Hornets shot a sizzling 58 percent from downtown, but on only 12 attempts.
It’s tough to get excited about a blowout win that was supposed to happen, but still, this is the first time OKC has resembled anything dominant so far this season. These are the kinds of wins that contenders are supposed to pile up. So it’s a good sign if you’re an Oklahoma City fan.
- Kevin Martin and Kevin Durant each scored a game-high 27 points, but Martin had 22 of those in the first half. His offensive explosion is as big a reason as any that the Thunder were able to jump out to the huge first-half lead.
- Kendrick Perkins was among players involved in a near-scuffle at halftime. Perk: Chill, man. We love it. But it’s only November.
- Russell Westbrook continues to struggle for the field, hitting only three of 11 shots and missing all four of his 3-pointers. Westbrook is now shooting below 40 percent on the season. Surely this slump will turn around any day now, right? Perhaps a good way to start is to not shoot nearly half of your shots from behind the arc when you are having an off night to begin with. But for a second straight game, he did a good job distributing when his shot wouldn’t fall, with 12 assists against only two turnovers.
- Spare me the lecture on plus-minus. But PJIII and Reggie Jackson were -12 and -9 tonight, respectively, in only 12 and seven minutes. Not exactly what you want to see from the two guys competing for that 10th rotation slot.
Next up: Sunday vs. Golden State.