The Oklahoma City Thunder put together a total team effort in their win tonight over the Utah Jazz. The Thunder returned home after a five-game road trip last week and looked very comfortable back in Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins played great games for the Thunder in the win. Ibaka scored 16 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and blocked six shots while Perkins dished out a career-high six assists to go along with seven rebounds.
It was one of those kind of nights again for the Thunder when they just completely overmatched their opponent. The Thunder beat Utah in their last game played on Friday. The Jazz would play two more games in between the meeting while Oklahoma City was off for three nights.
James Harden set the tone for the Thunder bench in the second quarter, scoring 10 points in the first six minutes of the period doing his usual Harden routine controlling pace, getting to the line and setting him his teammates.
Harden led the Thunder with 22 points in the game to go along with five assists and 3-of-5 shooting from downtown.
Kevin Durant poured in 21 points for the Thunder and while I predicted a bigger scoring night from the MVP candidate, Oklahoma City certainly did not need one from him.
That’s really been the story about this Thunder team this year. It’s no longer a team where you wonder “How many points will Durant score tonight?”
They are a great, deep and now experienced roster that goes about their business and wins games. They don’t need 40 from Durant to win games. He has help from Harden and Russell Westbrook and the role players have been stepping up lately as well.
It’s a team where everyone knows their role and where they fit to contribute on the court. The formula is working and should all season and into the playoffs.
In the fourth it was garbage time for the Thunder reserves but it was good to see rookie point guard Reggie Jackson getting eight assists on the night. He will be an important player for the Thunder come playoff time and the more quality minutes he can spell Westbrook for, the better for the Thunder.
Westbrook scored his 5,000th career points on this play and became just the third player in NBA history to record 5,000 points, 1,900 assists and 1,300 rebounds in their first 274 games. The other two who did it were Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson so great company for Westbrook there.
Oklahoma City (22-6) will play at Houston (16-13) in their next game tomorrow night before getting the next five at home.