I’d almost forgotten what it was like to not be sweating profusely the last three minutes of a game. Tonight’s game was a nice reminder that all games in fact, do not actually have to be ridiculously close and stressful.
What really made the difference in this one was the last minute of the third quarter. Oklahoma City closed with five straight points courtesy Kevin Durant’s awesomeness, which stretched out a lead to nine heading into the fourth. The Thunder outscored New Orleans 32-17 in the quarter and turned what looked like would be yet another nail-biter into a nice cruise through the fourth.
Something that makes putting away a good team such as the Hornets away is having a player like Durant, who can completely own 48 minutes of basketball. KD dropped 43 on 14-19 shooting (43 on 19 shots! Holy crap!), grabbed 10 rebounds, hit 10-11 from the line and dished out five assists just for fun. KD was zeroing in on 50 with five minutes left in the game, but he showed off why he’s so dang special. Instead of forcing anything, he made two slick and very correct passes to Nick Collison and Jeff Green (both missed, for shame). He then had another iso opportunity on the right wing, but dropped a beautiful no-look to Collison under the rim for an easy two. Playing that kind of basketball is how to close out. Possessions are never empty and it sends the message that it isn’t ever about one player or what he’s got going on. Scott Brooks said after the game he never has to worry about KD making the right play, because in almost every situation, Durant’s making a smart choice. Keep Reading…