The Oklahoma City Thunder lost a heartbreaker last night in San Antonio in their season opener. Tonight, it was a different story against the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Thunder looked very happy to be in front of their home crowd for the first time this season. After being held to 37.7 percent shooting from the field vs. the Spurs, OKC came out and shot 51.3 percent from the field tonight while holding Portland to just 36.0 percent.
Russell Westbrook who was awful vs. the Spurs going 6-for-21 from the field was spectacular tonight scoring 32 on 13-of-24 shooting to go with six assists and just one turnover. It was a big difference getting to match up with a rookie in Damian Lillard compared to Tony Parker.
Kevin Durant continued to emphasize an all-around game as he scored 23 to go with 17 boards and seven assists. He took only 14 shots and made half of them. Through two games, Durant has attempted 32 shots compared to 45 for Westbrook.
Unfortunately, we still haven’t seen much from Serge Ibaka this season. When James Harden was traded, the hope was that Ibaka could build upon what he showed in the preseason and step in to provide some more offense. He went 3-for-11 from the field tonight and scored just seven points.
Kevin Martin had another nice game playing 29 minutes off the bench. He scored 19 on 5-of-11 shooting and made all three of his 3-point attempts. Martin doesn’t attack the rim like Harden at all but is very crafty pump faking at the perimeter which leads to a lot of open space for him to work with.
LaMarcus Aldridge, who averaged 27.0 points per game in four meetings vs. the Thunder last season, was held to 22 tonight on 8-of-22 shooting. Nicolas Batum had a dreadful night shooting 1-for-11 from the field.
Nick Collison should not go unnoticed with his performance tonight. In what was a classic Collison performance he also scored 12 points and grabbed five boards.
Kendrick Perkins went down with an injury in the fourth quarter and was taken to the locker room. Perkins has been banged up a lot lately it seems and it wouldn’t be surprising if he has to rest some and miss a game or two although the injury did not appear to be too serious.
Rookies Perry Jones III and Jeremy Lamb got their first career hoops tonight. Jones entered the game in the first half spelling Durant for a few minutes but did not play until the final minute in the second half.
Jones’ first bucket came on a post-up in which he spun baseline and made an off-balance jumper over Sasha Pavlovic. Lamb drilled about a 30-foot three in the final minute and showed absolutely no emotion after doing so.
The Thunder even their record at 1-1 on the year now with the win. Their next game will be Sunday at 7 p.m. EST vs. the Atlanta Hawks who Harden torched for a new career-high of 45 tonight by the way.