For the first time this season the Oklahoma City Thunder have lost three straight games. The Indiana Pacers beat the Thunder 103-98 Friday night as the Thunder now are only a half game ahead of the San Antonio Spurs for the best record in the Western Conference.
The Thunder didn’t really have it tonight and fell behind early. They didn’t give up though because they never do.
Kevin Durant scored 44 points on 15-of-24 shooting and was the lone bright spot for Oklahoma City. Russell Westbrook had 21 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists but was 7-for-23 from the field.
The first half killed the Thunder tonight. They trailed by 15 at halftime and allowed 54 percent shooting from Indiana.
The energy wasn’t there as the game had the feel of a letdown game after the Miami one a few nights ago. Durant and Westbrook still each played 40-plus minutes as the two played the entire second half.
James Harden was quiet again with 10 points and four assists and just one field goal in the game.
Indiana is a solid team and played that way tonight giving the Thunder a defensive effort they aren’t always used to but should have been after their last two losses.
Roy Hibbert and Danny Granger led the way for the Pacers. Hibbert had a big first half and finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. Granger carried the offensive load in the last two quarters and led the team with 26 points.
Paul George may have had the biggest impact for the Pacers despite scoring only eight points he also added a career high 16 rebounds and held Durant to just 44.
The Thunder proved again tonight why they are the most entertaining team in the NBA this season. This was a game where they should have lost by 20. It was decided in the first half. They never gave up and fought for the entire second half even though the destined winner was Indiana.
Oklahoma City is now 40-15 on the year and will play Toronto (20-35) for their next game Sunday night.