KD: 43 minutes, 31 points, three boards, two assists, no turnovers.
Greg Oden: 16 minutes, four points, two rebounds, two assists, two turnovers and four fouls.
Ben from Blazer’s Edge:
At this point in his career, Greg Oden doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same paragraph with Kevin Durant, let alone the same sentence. One is a polished, all-purpose threat who plays with a joy for the game, confidence and passion, doing everything from knocking down pull-up 3s to blocking Joel Przybilla shot attempts. The other can’t stay on the court for a week straight and has made zero adjustments, mentally or physically, to give his coach a reason to play him. Nate has temporarily lost confidence in him. And Greg knows it. That’s a vicious cycle for someone with Greg’s demeanor. Greg’s roller coaster rookie season continues. The truth hurts.
But who cares about all that? That’s not what was important tonight for Thunder fans. The important thing was Oklahoma City never trailed and put a pretty solid beat down on a really good Blazers team, winning 102-93 in front of a frenzied Ford Center tonight. The Thunder outplayed the Blazers in every way. Shot better from the field, hit more free throws, turned it over less (I know, can you believe that?), outrebounded them, had more assists, had more steals and SCORED MORE POINTS. Great game. Probably the best of the season.
Check out tonight’s four factors, a clean sweep.
Pace Effe FG FT/FG OREB% TOr
POR 89.0 104.5 48.8% 18.8 22.0 14.6
OKC 114.6 51.3% 25.0 28.2 11.2
Why am I so excited? Do I not realize OKC is still 12-38? Well, that sure beats the heck out of being 11-39. And in this new year, we’re looking at a .500 team and I’d love to keep that up. After three lackluster defensive games and everyone wondering if OKC could stop anybody without Desmond Mason, the Thunder cashed in a gem defensively and won its first game post-Desmond. OKC held the Blazers to 45 percent from the field for the game, but worked their tail off all night. The Thunder rotated and helped as good as it has all year. They blocked shots. They were physical. And they got big stops when they needed them. The Blazers scored just 40 points in the first half to OKC’s 60 and if it weren’t for a little late run, Portland would have been lucky to crack 80.
The Thunder were lights out in the first quarter, lighting the Blazers up for 37. Then more in the second, throwing up 33. And then more in the third, racing to an 81-69 lead on an awesome sequence. Joe Smith rotated over and rejected Brandon Roy at the rim. Earl Watson (who was fantastic tonight) scooped up the ball and zoomed down court. He had KD on his right and everyone thougth an oop to The Delicious One was coming. But Earl dropped a behind the back bounce pass right into Jeff Green’s breadbasket and Green sent the ball tearing through the net – literally. The Ford Center was electric. But there was about a 15 minute delay as the net was replaced at the Thunder end. All the momentum was sucked out of OKC at that moment and the Blazers went on a 9-0 run as soon as play resumed. Everybody started to get that little squirmy feeling where you’re looking at the scoreboard every three seconds to see if they have gotten any closer. But the Thunder responded and closed. I’ll admit, I was pretty worried there for a second, but Watson got to the line and knocked down two and KD had a big bucket. The Thunder played too well to lose this one. I’m glad they didn’t. Keep Reading…