So comes the end of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s run as the top team in the NBA. The night after the Miami Heat lose to go down one game, Oklahoma City takes a loss to the Atlanta Hawks, 97-90.
Josh Smith dominated the post, revealing a weakness in the Thunder’s game. Smith scored 30 points for the Hawks, 13 of which were in the 4th quarter, pulling the Hawks ahead of the Thunder for the win.
Kendrick Perkins was in foul trouble the entire 2nd half, so Coach Brooks resorted to having Kevin Durant guarding Smith at times, which was not very effective.
Durant led the team in scoring, putting up 35 points on 23 shots. Westbrook followed with 25, nobody else had more than 10.
Kevin Durant- A 35pts/8reb/2ast/3stl
Durant got to the line 17 teams, making 14 of them to keep the Thunder in the game. At the end, Durant just couldn’t do enough, missing his final four shots. Durant did turn the ball over four times, which the Thunder have been known to do a lot this season. The team had 21 for the game.
Russell Westbrook- A- 25pts/0reb/4ast/0stl
Of course the game where the Thunder turned the ball over a bunch, Westbrook only has two. He played a very nice game against a tough defender in Jeff Teague. Westbrook and Durant didn’t get much help from the rest of the team, leading to them taking 44 of the teams 73 shots.
James Harden- B- 10pts/6reb/2ast/2stl
It’s not that Harden had a bad game, he just didn’t shoot the ball that much. Durant and Westbrook barely sat out tonight, so he didn’t touch that often. He hit of four of his eight shots, but missed all three of his attempts beyond the arc. Towards the end of the game, Harden was given ball handling duties instead of Westbrook. This can work, giving Westbrook some time off the ball, and have Harden distribute.
Daequan Cook- C 0pts/3reb/0ast/0stl
Honestly, I don’t even remember Cook touching the ball during this game. He didn’t take any shots, and only played 14 minutes. When the Thunder are losing, Daequan isn’t going to play much.
Kendrick Perkins- D+ 2pts/5reb/1ast/1blk
Fouling out early in the 4th quarter didn’t help a team that was struggling to guard an All-Star caliber power forward. In foul trouble all night, Perkins was not able to produce any significant numbers. He hurt the Thunder by forcing them to go small after he fouled out.
Serge Ibaka- B+ 10pts/6reb/0ast/3blk
Ibaka has really shown improvement over the past few weeks on the offensive side of the ball. His only missed field goal was an 18 ft. jumper in the 4th quarter. He did get obliterated by a Josh Smith dunk midway through the game, but other than that, Serge played a really nice game.
Rest of the Thunder- C
Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich got increased minutes in Perkins’ absence. Aldrich gave the Thunder a good showing, blocking three shots and scoring six points. Nazr Mohammed was the only other non-Harden bench player to score, hitting a jumper in the 1st quarter. When both of the benches went in, the game became very sloppy and hard to watch.