In a potential Finals preview against the Miami Heat, the Oklahoma City Thunder played like a championship team tonight.
The Thunder moved the ball much better than usual tonight, and involved everyone on the team.
The game was close through the first quarter then the Thunder got going, and went on a run that led to an 11-point halftime lead.
The Heat only managed to get within eight points the rest of the way, as the Thunder cruised to a 103-87 win over one of the NBA’s premier teams.
Oklahoma City heads to Portland on Tuesday to face the Trail Blazers.
Kevin Durant- A+ 28pts/9reb/8ast/2stl
Against the MVP-frontrunner, Durant showed the nation why he should also be considered for the award. Coming just shy of his first career triple double, he led the team to a victory over the preseason favorite to win the Finals. Durant got the ball moving, which is rare for the Thunder, a team that runs isolations as much as possible.
Russell Westbrook- C 13pts/3reb/6ast/3stl
It seems like every national TV game, the Thunder have to have somebody that has an off night. Tonight that was Russell Westbrook. He shot an abysmal 4-16 from the floor, scoring just 13 points, along with four turnovers. Part of the reason for Westbrook’s struggles was the fact that he picked up his third foul halfway through the second quarter.
Kendrick Perkins- A 16pts/6reb/2ast/1stl
What a wonderful game for the Thunder big man. Perkins recorded his season high in points, the most he’s scored since January 10th, 2010, with the Boston Celtics. This is the first time he has had back-to-back double digit scoring games all season.
Serge Ibaka- A 19pts/10reb/1ast/1blk
For really the first time in a while, the Thunder had TWO big men score effectively. This is what the Thunder have been lacking to become a complete team. Ibaka’s jumper is starting to look automatic, and his inside defense is great as usual.
James Harden-B 19pts/3reb/6ast/2stl
Harden was great at some points, and not so much at others. When he was cast of the point guard, he facilitated well, moving the ball and involving everyone. To go with those six assists were a career high seven turnovers. If there is one team you don’t want to turn it over against, it’s the Miami Heat. You need to force them to beat you in the halfcourt, and giving them free points on fast breaks isn’t going to do that.
Rest of the Thunder- C
We didn’t see much of the bench, which should also happen once the playoffs come along. Derek Fisher played another 18 minutes, doing absolutely nothing, and Nick Collison gave the Thunder his usual hard work in his 19 minutes. When it comes down to it, the Thunder will have to play Durant and Westbrook 40+ minutes in the playoffs to get it done.