When you start winning some games (how does FIVE of SIX sound my friends?), it’s not always just about winning the game, but it’s also a little bit about how you win. Well, that’s not entirely true because as long as the Thunder has one more point than the other team when the clock says zero, I’m happy (which was exactly the case tonight).
But OKC had some defensive lapses early, didn’t rebound in the second quarter, gave away a 10-point lead in what seemed like seconds and played a sloppy fourth quarter and at a point sometime in the fourth, I told myself, “Win or lose, I’m not that thrilled about this game.” But then the Thunder made a slew of big plays down the stretch and edged out Sacramento 99-98 and let me tell you, I really don’t care about semi-lackluster first 43 minutes. The last five were excellent.
The Kings took a 92-91 lead on a Rashad McCants free throw with 4:56 left in the game after the two teams had exchanged buckets on the last four possessions. And this game kind of had the feeling of, “Here we go, let’s watch OKC blow this down the stretch.” But the Thunder came up with big stop after big stop holding the game at one. Nenad Krstic stopped Spencer Hawes at the rim. Then after Jeff Green turned it over for a second straight possession, Hawes got tagged for a moving pick. Russell Westbrook then missed a little runner in the lane and the Kings’ Will Soloman streaked at the bucket. But Krstic was there again for a monster stop at the rim, denying Soloman. OKC couldn’t cash in after a McCants steal but AGAIN, the Thunder came up with a stop contesting a Bobby Jackson jumper and securing the rebound.
Finally the Thunder broke through as Earl Watson missed a reverse layup but Krispy Nads was there for put-back to giving OKC the lead for good, 93-92. (Then for good measure, OKC got another stop and Krstic got another offensive rebound and put it in. 95-92.
It was really a crazy sequence of events. It was one of those stretches where the Thunder could have easily been down eight with no chance and relegated to heaving threes, or they could have been up eight cruising to the buzzer. But instead, it came down to the wire and the Thunder made a play or two more than Sacramento and that was the difference. Keep Reading…