Nets Snap Thunder’s Home Winning Streak

Brooklyn Nets – 110, Oklahoma City Thunder – 93

The Oklahoma City Thunder suffered its third home loss of the season at the hands of the revitalized Brooklyn Nets Wednesday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The Nets jumped out to an early first quarter advantage and eventually saw their lead grow to 23 points late in the first half. However, the Thunder battled back in the third quarter and tied the game off a Kevin Martin three with 7:11 left in the contest.

Brooklyn didn’t let up and went on a 24-6 run to close out their 17th win of the season.

GAME NOTES

  • The Nets shot nearly 70% from the floor in the first period with Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson combining for 22 of their first 33 points. Johnson torched Oklahoma City going 5-6 in the period including 2-3 from long range. The Thunder looked lackadaisical defensively and at times in the period it seemed Thabo Sefolosha was playing defense by himself.
  • Brook Lopez had his way with Thunder frontcourt. He scored 10 of his 25 points in the first quarter, setting the tone for the entire game. The Nets outscored the Thunder in the paint 42-36 and outrebounded them 38-34. Lopez proved to be a tough matchup for Kendrick Perkins with his ability to knock down the mid-range jumper and play outside the paint.
  • The Nets lost to San Antonio Monday thanks to an atrocious third quarter in which they were outscore 30-5. It was more of the same against Oklahoma City. The Thunder cut Brooklyn’s 16-point, halftime lead to four going into the final 12 minutes. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined for 20 points in the third and the Thunder outscored the Nets 27-15. Brooklyn came out of the locker room and mirrored Oklahoma City’s lethargic first quarter play.
  • Johnson continued to carry the Nets down the stretch with 13 of his game-high 33 points coming in the second half. A lot has been made of Johnson’s contract and he’s been called a paper-giant on more than one occasion. However, Johnson proved he could play up to his salary against the Thunder. He was easily the MVP of the game.
  • Deron Williams and Westbrook consistently went after each other throughout the game. Williams has been criticized for his perimeter defense, but he gave Westbrook everything he wanted. Westbrook finished with 26 points and 10 assists, but turned it over six times. It wasn’t until the third period that he finally got into a groove and Williams proved to be his biggest problem.
  • The Thunder resorted to isolation offense down the stretch. It was partly out of frustration and partly due to Brooklyn’s feisty defense. The frustration mounted to the point Durant couldn’t take it anymore and fell victim to a double-technical ejection, the first of his career. Durant had choice words for referee Danny Crawford as he walked off the court after a Perkins offensive foul.

PLAYER OF THE NIGHT

  • Joe Johnson: 33 POINTS / 11-19 (5-10 3PT) / 5 REBOUNDS

STAT OF THE NIGHT

  • OKC: 19 TURNOVERS (30 POINTS)

OBSERVATIONS

  • It’s hard to see why Brooklyn is just two games over .500 after thumping Oklahoma City. They have a nice mix of talent and a true point guard in Deron Williams. They also have great size with Brook Lopez and a decent bench led by Kris Humphries. Plus, Joe Johnson has the ability to go for 30 on any given night.
  • They are now 3-1 under Carlisimo who doesn’t seem nearly as laid back as former coach Avery Johnson. He could be the right guy for the job at the moment, even though two of their wins came against Charlotte and Cleveland in Brooklyn. I could see them righting the ship and becoming a dangerous team in the East, but they can’t hang with Miami. They could make a deep run in the playoffs if they get hot at the right time, but at the end of the day, there’s no competing with LeBron and the gang.

 

QUOTES

  • “We just played two of the best three offensive teams in the league. We didn’t play any defense against one and we defended this team about as well as you can defend them.” -P.J. Carlesimo
  • “I wasn’t worried about the third quarter. I was worried whether we could keep guys fresh enough. The guys off the bench did a great job for us.” -P.J. Carlesimo
  • “Gerald Wallace is a monster. You want to talk about something that wasn’t in San Antonio? Gerald Wallace.” -P.J. Carlesimo
  • “There is no need to panic. I think every time we lose around here everybody wants to go bananas.” Russell Westbrook
  • “We had 20 turnovers and gave up 30 points off of those 20 turnovers. It’s tough to win when you play a very good team that’s hot and give them extra possessions.” -Scott Brooks

 

Thunder Earns 11th Straight Victory

The Oklahoma City Thunder evened its series with the San Antonio Spurs with a 107-93 victory at the Chesapeake Energy Arena Monday. Serge Ibaka led all scorers with 25 and led all rebounders with 17.

GAME NOTES

-Serge Ibaka scored 25 points and pulled down 17 boards. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook didn’t have their best scoring performances. Instead, OKC relied on Ibaka who took three more shots than Durant.

-OKC’s defense stepped up in the third period. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan combined for just 11 points in the second half and Parker had just one assist.

-Serge Ibaka was asked after the game if he played better because he was motivated by Stephen Jackson’s tweets earlier this month. His response: “I respect your job, but I don’t want to talk about it.”

-Russell Westbrook was asked the same question about Ibaka. Westbrook’s response: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

-Gregg Popovich sat his starters in the fourth quarter after OKC opened an 18-point lead. Manu Ginobili didn’t play either due to a left quad contusion.

-The Thunder moved to a league-best 20-4 while San Antonio dropped to 19-7. The two teams are heading in opposite directions as OKC has won 11-straight and the Spurs have dropped four of their last six.

 

QUOTES

-”It’s hard,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said after the game. “I tell people this all the time, I couldn’t do what he’s (Ibaka) done-go to this country and produce like he’s producing here. It’s a credit to him and the organization.”

-”He’s (Ibaka) gifted,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after the game. “You have a four-man who can spread the court and shoot it like that, it makes it tougher on everybody. That’s why there’s so many shooting four’s in the league.”

-”I didn’t want to play him (Stephen Jackson) that many minutes, but he’s a hard guy to get off the floor,” Popovich said. “He likes to be out there, but we finally convinced him to get off the floor. After all this time off, 18 was plenty, probably a little too much.”

 

STATS

-Serge Ibaka: 25 points / 17 rebounds / 3 blocks

-Kevin Martin: 20 points (7-10 shooting)

-Thunder: 49 rebounds, Spurs: 37 rebounds

-Thunder starters: 77 points, Spurs starters: 49 points

 

Why the Spurs Lost:

-It might have had something to do with the absence of Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard, but the main reason they lost is because they stopped scoring in the third quarter. They only scored 16 in the third while Oklahoma City poured in 29.

Why the Thunder Won:

-Serge Ibaka. If it weren’t for Ibaka, the Thunder could’ve very easily lost to San Antonio for the second time this season. Durant and Westbrook didn’t have it going, but Ibaka stepped up and carried the team. He led the way the entire game and was the most intense player on the court during his 38 minutes.

Thunder Cruise To 45-point Win

REACTION: OKC: 114 / BOBCATS: 69

Box Score

-The Thunder handed Charlotte a 45-point loss at the Chesapeake Arena Monday in Oklahoma City. OKC led by 54 at one point in the second half thanks to six players scoring in double-digits including a combined 32 points from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

GAME NOTES:

-Charlotte opened with Jeff Taylor guarding Durant. It didn’t work out too well. Durant scored six points on 3-4 shooting with Taylor guarding him the majority of the quarter. Durant might’ve scored more early had he not been shocked by Mike Dunlap’s decision.

-Thabo Sefolosha nailed two three’s early in the first quarter when it seemed like OKC was still asleep. He actually jacked up six of OKC’s eight three’s in the first 12 minutes. Let’s just say Charlotte’s team defense was a little lackluster because all eight shots were completely uncontested.

-Let’s face it, OKC’s starters could’ve taken the night off and the team still might’ve pulled out a win, but it was nice to see Durant and Sefolosha’s activity on defense early in the game. Thabo made a great defensive play when he picked a driving Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s pocket as the rookie tried to drive on him. Durant moved well on defense early as well and finished the first period with two blocks.

-Durant played with the second team early in the second quarter and they had success passing the ball. It was one of those unfamiliar occasions when the ball hardly bounced off the Chesapeake Arena floor. It was open shot after open shot with KD, Eric Maynor, Kevin Martin, Collison and Thabeet sharing the rock better than the team has all season.

-Maynor and Thabeet scored eight of OKC’s 13 bench points in the second quarter. Each player would probably start for Charlotte. OK, Kemba Walker might keep Maynor on the bench, but Thabeet seriously might be better than Brendan Haywood. Haywood scored two points and pulled down six rebounds in the period while Thabeet scored four and pulled down four boards in half the time.

-Westbrook threw down a massive slam at the end of the second quarter that gave OKC a 40-point lead going into halftime.  Check it out. 

-It started to get ugly in the third quarter. Eventually, OKC extended their lead to 54 points and had the Bobcats on pace to break the record for least amount of points in a game (49: 1999 Chicago Bulls). Scott Brooks pulled the starters with nearly seven minutes left in the quarter and finished the game with a rotation of Thabeet, Maynor, Martin, Reggie Jackson, Perry Jones and Jeremy Lamb.

-There’s not much to say about the rest of the game. Let’s call it what it really was: garbage time. The Thunder will go on its way and the Bobcats will go on their’s as well. Plus, we all know what Wednesday brings. The return of the beard.

 

REPORT CARD

-OFFENSE: A : Can’t argue with shooting over 50% and a +15 turnover/assist ratio.

-DEFENSE: A+ : Charlotte shot 29% and OKC pulled down 45 defensive rebounds.

-STARTERS: A+ : That +198 statistic is a little describing.

-BENCH: A : The bench played well, especially when Durant was with them in the rotation.

-FANS: B : The fans were loud at points in the game, but who can blame them after that game.

 

STATISTIC-ULAR FORTITUDE

-The Thunder’s 45-point win is the largest win since moving to Oklahoma City.

-OKC’s starters were a combined +198 in the +/-

-Charlotte shot 29.1% (23-79) from the floor including 27.3% (6-22) from three-point range.

-Kemba Walker: 0-6 FG, 0-2 3PT, 0-2 FT, 2 TO, -31

 

PLAYER OF THE GAME: THABO SEFOLOSHA 

-Sefolosha finished with 14 points and went 4-8 from long range. His +/- was a game-high +45 in just over 21 minutes. He also pulled down four rebounds, dished out three assists and had one steal.

PLAYED A TERRIBLE GAME: KEMBA WALKER

-See Statistic-ular Fortitude above. 

ROOKIE WATCH: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

-I really wasn’t impressed with Kidd-Gilchrist, but then again, there wasn’t anything to be impressed with the Bobcats anyway. He finished the game with just eight points in 22 minutes and pulled down three boards. He got Serge Ibaka off his feet with a great head-fake on one play early, but other than that he was average offensively. He wasn’t allowed to guard KD in the first quarter, which tells me Mike Dunlap doesn’t have much faith in his defense yet. He has only played 12 games, but his first trip to OKC was still well below average. GRADE: D

 

SCOTT BROOKS QUOTES

-Open: ”They had a bad night. Let’s face it, this team has been playing good basketball to start the season. We will all go through a game like this. It happens.”

-On Thabeet’s development: “When we signed him over the summer we had to work on a few things in order for him to have success. One was conditioning and getting in better shape. He’s done that. It’s a credit to our staff.”

-On mixed rotations: ”I’m looking for lineups that get steps and also match-ups. Certain guys play better against certain players and I have a luxury with Kevin (Durant) because I can put him at the two, three or four.

 

NEXT GAME: Wednesday vs. Houston Rockets (6-7) 7:00 PM CT

 

Grizzlies Handle Thunder 107-97

THUNDER REACTION

GAME 9 vs. Memphis Grizzlies:  L (107-97)

The Grizzlies became the first team to hang 100 points on the Thunder while handing them their third loss of the season Wednesday at the Chesapeake Arena in Oklahoma City.

 

1st QUARTER GAME NOTES

The Thunder looked like they were in cruise control once again after the first quarter. They jumped out to a 10-point lead with Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha droppin eight apiece in the first 12 minutes. Memphis got off to a horrible start offensively and shot 32% to start the game including 2-9 from Tony Allen and Mark Gasol.

 

2nd QUARTER GAME NOTES

Memphis turned the game around in the second period, outscoring the Thunder 36-15. The difference ended up coming down to bench play. The Grizzlies’ bench outscored Oklahoma City’s 18-6 in the second period while Quincy Pondexter knocked down three three’s. Jarryd Bayless and Wayne Ellington combined for seven points as well.

 

3rd QUARTER GAME NOTES

OKC did its best to climb back into it after the half; however, Memphis continued to play well offensively. Rudy Gay scored nine of his 18 second half-points in the third quarter and Zach Randolph got going with eight. OKC shot over 56% from the field, but couldn’t stop anybody defensively. Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka combined to hit every shot for OKC in the third period.

 

4th QUARTER GAME NOTES

Once again the Thunder played well in the fourth period, but once again the Grizzlies played well also and held off OKC to earn their sixth victory of the year. Rudy Gay caught fire in the third and continued his hot shooting in the fourth. He scored nine points and scored on three straight possessions with Durant in his face. Bayless turned in nine points in the fourth as well with Randolph and Gasol combining for four.

 

SCOTT BROOKS ON: What went wrong in the 2nd quarter.

“Ellington came in and hit three tough shots and they picked the intensity up. We gave them a lot of looks around the basket, but 21 points on us, I don’t think that will happen again all season.”

 

SCOTT BROOKS ON: Kevin Martin’s first game in single digits.

“It’s something that we definitely need to look at because we need his offense. For whatever reason, four shots is not good enough. It was a combination of the team, myself and Kevin (Marin). I didn’t do a good job and he didn’t do a good job, but we will figure that out.”

 

 

MY RANDOM NOTES

 

  • This was a very physical and intense game. It had a playoff feel to it and you could tell the players felt the same way when Randolph and Kendrick Perkins got ejected in the fourth quarter. I thought the Clippers/Grizzlies rivalry was brewing, but the Thunder/Grizzlies is boiling as well.

 

  • When Westbrook gets off to a slow start, he usually has a terrible offensive game. Not tonight. He had his worst shooting game of the season, but had his best facilitating game of the season (13 assists). He always finds a way to make you shake your head, but this is a growing step. He’s still so young and has a so much to learn. Sometimes it’s nice to see the learning process in action.

 

  • Kevin Martin only took four shots and OKC lost. Something tells me that the team needs him to take control more or they won’t win very many games. He had a tough time against Memphis’ strong defense and sort of zoned out. I hope this isn’t a sign of what’s to come for Martin against good defensive teams.

 

  • The Grizzlies’ bench could be the best in the league. Quincy Pondexter, Jerryd Bayless and Wayne Ellington make up a solid core for their second team. Memphis scares me if I’m a Thunder fan. They have size, the can score from anywhere on the court and they dominate defensively. Could Memphis eliminate OKC if they meet in the playoffs? I think they can.

 

  • I’ve heard some other guys talking about the crowds OKC has had this season. They’ve said the noise level hasn’t come close to what it was last year and after tonight, I agree. It’s almost as if the fans are bored with the Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers and others. If it’s not the Heat or Lakers, it’s going to be an average crowd. Let’s all hope that mentality doesn’t catch on.

 

PLAYERS OF THE NIGHT

-Kevin Durant: 34 Points / 10 Rebounds / 5 Assists

-Russell Westbrook: 17 Points / 13 Assists / 6 Rebounds

-Serge Ibaka: 17 Points / 8 Rebounds / 4 Blocks

 

-Rudy Gay: 28 Points / 6 Rebounds / 5 Assists (POG)

-Zach Randolph: 20 Points / 11 Rebounds / 2 Steals

-Marc Gasol: 14 Points / 6 Rebounds / 2 Blocks

 

NEXT GAME: Nov. 16 at New Orleans (3-3)

Durant and Westbrook Carry Thunder Past the Cavs

THUNDER REACTION

GAME 7 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers:  W (106-91)

The Oklahoma City Thunder earned their fourth straight victory with a 106-91 win over the Cleveland Cavs at the Chesapeake Arena Sunday. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined for 53 points while Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka and Kevin Martin scored in double figures as well.

1st QUARTER GAME NOTES

The Cavs jumped out to a quick start hitting eight of their first 10 shots. However, Oklahoma City’s defense stiffened and the Thunder went on a 20-4 run to end the period with a 27-21 lead. Russell Westbrook led OKC with seven points, but turned the ball over three times. Deion Waiters and Kyrie Irving combined for 13 points for Cleveland.

2nd QUARTER GAME NOTES

OKC extended their lead in the second quarter thanks mostly to Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Kevin Martin. The “big 3” combined for 16 points in the second, Westbrook leading the way with six. OKC’s defense held Waiters and Irving to just five after they scored 13 in the opening period.

3rd QUARTER GAME NOTES

Cleveland pulled to within six points after the third quarter thanks to Kyrie Irving’s 10 points and two assists. KD and Westbrook combined for 16 points including a half-court, buzzer beating three from Westbrook. OKC ended the quarter shooting 55% from the field for the first 36 minutes.

4th QUARTER GAME NOTES

Westbrook opened the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run after hitting a buzzer-beater three at the end of the third quarter. Westbrook, Martin and Durant combined for 19 points in the period as they put the Cavs away. Cleveland never stood a chance with Irving on the bench to start the fourth. The Thunder ran away down the stretch and earned its fifth victory while handing the Cavs their fifth loss.

 

SCOTT BROOKS ON: What other things think about defense.

“I don’t know what other teams are focusing on, but I know that we’re playing our best basketball when we’re thinking defensive thoughts.”

SCOTT BROOKS ON: Getting to know Kevin Martin.

“His last two teams were rebuilding teams and he was their scorer. The rest of the league looks at players like that and think that they don’t play defense. He’s come in and played defense. I think it’s solid. He’s making players work and he gets his hands on a lot of basketballs. His defense is much better than his reputation.”

SCOTT BROOKS ON: Perkins playing better.

“He didn’t play any basketball this summer. He had two surgeries that prevented him from playing and he played just occasionally during training camp. A lot of it was non-contact and by himself. He’s still getting the feel, but it’s not about stats with him. We need his toughness.”

 

MY RANDOM NOTES

 

  • I feel like Westbrook is trying this season to be more of a facilitator. He is making better passes and running the offense better, but he’s still turning the ball over too much. If he could ever figure out the turnover issue there’s no telling what he could do to this league.  

 

  • K-Mart is a straight scorer. Byron Scott said before the game that he helps OKC because he’s a better scorer than James Harden, who he (Scott) claims to be a better “overall” player. I think Martin is perfect for the Thunder. He creates offense off the ball, which is huge because Westbrook and KD have to have the ball in their hands for the offense to work.

 

  • I’m noticing a ton of head fakes from OKC this year, especially Thabo Sefolosha. He’s gotten more and more confident in his shot over the last few seasons, but he’s still smart enough to know a little pump-fake can lead to better shot-selection.

 

  • Scott Brooks has favored the small lineups so far this season. Against Cleveland, KD ran the four with Collison at the five and Perk at the five. Brooks’ first substitution of the second half came when K-Mart entered the game for Serge with about four minutes left in the third.

 

  • Kyrie Irving is quickly becoming one of my favorite players in the league. He can score with any point guard in the league including Westbrook. He’s quietly becoming one of the NBA’s youngest superstars after winning Rookie of the Year last season and once Cleveland builds around him, they will be a force in the East.

 

  • I still can’t figure out where Deion Waiters went after the first quarter. He scored seven points in the first seven minutes, but was stranded for the rest of the game. Cleveland has a bright future with their young backcourt, but it is obvious Waiters still has a thing or two to learn.

 

PLAYERS OF THE NIGHT

-RUSEELL WESTBROOK: 27 Points / 10 Assists / 6 Rebounds (POG)

-KEVIN DURANT: 26 Points / 8 Rebounds / 2 Assists

-KEVIN MARTIN: 16 Points / 5 Rebounds / 6-9 Shooting

 

-KYRIE IRVING: 20 Points / 5 Assists / 4 Rebounds

-ALONZO GEE: 18 Points / 2 Steals

-DANIEL GIBSON: 16 Points / 5 Rebounds / 1 Steal

NEXT GAME: Nov. 12 at DETROIT (0-7)