It’s not how I envisioned Oklahoma City finally beating Denver. I pictured a full, roaring Ford Center. I pictured Carmelo and KD dueling down the stretch, trading buckets in a pressure packed fourth quarter and in the end, the Thunder making one big play to win it.
I didn’t really see it coming as a 17-point blowout, 101-84, in front of a sparse crowd with no ‘Melo. But all the same, it’s equally as sweet.
The Thunder needed this game. Not only to stop the three-game skid, but moreover, to restore some confidence in themselves. The lost the close ones last week. Then they dropped a bad one to Chicago two nights ago. People were starting to wonder if they were slipping. And though there was no Carmelo Anthony, OKC put a whipping on the division-leading Nuggets. It’s a good, good win for many reasons. I know ‘Melo didn’t play, but that hasn’t hurt the Nuggets in keeping their eight-game win streak going. So while that’s a fair point, the fact OKC was focused and fired up is what really proved to be the difference.
Everything clicked tonight. The offense was crisp. The defense was excellent. OKC rebounded the ball as good as ever. There was a real focus to the team tonight. Kevin Durant notched his 20th straight game with 25 points or more as he scored 30 on 12-19 shooting, but Russell Westbrook was quietly awesome. He had 12 points (5-11 shooting), eight assists, three rebounds and just two turnovers. And after J.R. Smith started hot from 3 (started 4-5, finished 5-10), Westbrook really turned up the heat on Smith playing some really solid defense. Keep Reading…