The past few games, third quarters had killed the Thunder. Over the last three, OKC had been outscored by an average of almost eight points coming out of the locker room. Tonight, a much different story.
The Thunder outscored New Jersey 31-14 in the third, which included a 9-0 run to start the period. That run essentially sealed the deal as OKC went on to handle the Nets 94-85. We thought the Thunder (10-35) would come out intense and hungry after the poor showing in Los Angeles. And they sure did.
Even through a sloppy first half, the Thunder were playing inspired defense. The rotation was great and the effort on the glass was noticeable. The Thunder piled up 12 offensive boards in the first half alone with Nenad Krstic having five to himself. OKC held the Nets (20-25) to just 40 points on 38 percent shooting. Every shot the Nets took had a Thunder player flying in their face, disrupting their shot. Desmond Mason had just eight tonight, but he was especially active on the defensive end. That’s one reason I really like Des – no matter what, he’s playing hard. Every team needs a guy like him. I hope he sticks around.
So the margin wound up being just nine after OKC had led by 30 at one point. The Nets outscored OKC 31-12 in the fourth. Any reason for concern? Here’s all you need to know – Damien Wilkins played nine minutes in the fourth. That should explain it. In other words – no concern, no worry. Let me put it this way: OKC’s starters: +23, +26, +23, +25, +19. OKC’s bench: -13, -11, -10, -1, -19, -17. Yeeeah. Keep Reading…