It seems like every paragraph about the Thunder these days makes some reference to OKC winning games without Kevin Durant. And true, the Thunder’s put together their best stretch of the season with their best player on the bench. No denying that.
The Thunder is 5-2 in their last seven with a three-game winning streak squeezed in there. Needless to say, it has brought up talk of the Chewing Ewing Theory and people wondering if KD was the actually the problem. Maybe they’re joking or maybe they’re serious. Who knows. Oh, and keep in mind, for four of those games there was no Jeff Green either (and OKC went 3-1 without him). Double Ewing Theory? No. No! No no no no no no.
You make think the stats are there and it may make sense to say it. Yes, the Thunder’s defense has been night and day better with KD on the bench. It’s not secret that Durant isn’t a great defender, but he more than makes up for it by putting the ball in the basket – a lot.
Look, OKC really turned everything around New Year’s Eve. The team won that night against Golden State and then went 7-7 in January, shedding all that “worst team ever” jibberjabber. But February wasn’t as kind to OKC, with the team going 3-9 and 3-8 with KD in the lineup. Then he goes down with an ankle injury against Dallas and the Thunder pushes the Mavericks to overtime in Dallas and then goes 5-2 without their star.
But let’s be realistic here: The only game out of those five that OKC really shouldn’t have won was at home against Dallas. Other than that, wins against Memphis, Philly, Sacramento and Washington were kind of expected. In February, eight of the 12 opponents the Thunder played were above .500 and in playoff races. OKC played the Lakers twice, New Orleans, Portland twice, Denver, Dallas and Phoenix. Oh, and seven of those 12 were on the road. And you know, OKC’s kind of stinky on the road. Keep Reading…