The Oklahoma City Thunder played their first home game of the season last night vs. the Portland Trail Blazers and won 106-92 to improve to 1-1 on the year.
The Blazers hung around for most of the game but the Thunder incrementally creaked away outscoring Portland in each quarter.
It was a big improvement for OKC over their season opener at San Antonio a night before in which they shot 37.7 percent from the field. They made 51.3 percent of their shots vs. Portland and turned the ball over just 12 times.
On to the Game Grades:
Kevin Durant – 43 minutes, 23 points, 17 rebounds, 7 assists – A
Durant has been very impressive with his work on the glass in the first two games of the season, averaging 15.5 rebounds per game so far. He is making a very obvious effort to go for a more all-around game, looking to pass more as well. The seven assists are nice but it also came at the cost of six turnovers. Durant only shot 14 times but got to the line 12 times. The all-around game is nice but you still want to see Durant shooting a little bit more.
Russell Westbrook – 35 minutes, 32 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds – A
Westbrook had a very nice bounce-back game last night after a horrible performance in San Antonio where he shot 6-for-21 from the field. He was efficient last night which basically meant his pull-up jumper was falling. Westbrook played with more decisiveness being matched up with a rookie point guard in Damian Lillard as opposed to Tony Parker and the Spurs’ defense. Westbrook also only turned the ball over once and could have had a few more assists if not for fumbled passes and wide-open misses.
Serge Ibaka – 27 minutes, 7 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks – C
We’re still waiting on Ibaka to show something more on offense. He is trying to get his shot more but went just 3-for-11 against Portland. He seems to be pressing and playing less relaxed as he tries to take on more offensive responsibility. He hasn’t looked much improved defensively either. Other than the occasional highlight block, he is more than often out of position or flying at pump fakes.
Kevin Martin – 29 minutes, 19 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds – A
Martin clearly has no problem scoring the basketball. He is averaging 17.0 points per game this season and his best basketball looks to be ahead of him still. It helped that he made all three of his 3-point shots vs. Portland but he played a very smart game with the shots he took. He never really forced anything and is so crafty utilizing the pump fake to create driving room. He even has passed the ball fairly well so far. No complaints about Martin so far.
Kendrick Perkins – 21 minutes, 0 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block – B-
Perkins obviously was a non-factor on offense last night. He played good defense on LaMarcus Aldridge though checking him for most of the game. Aldridge shot just 8-for-22 from the field and had 22 points. Perkins left the game late with an injury but it didn’t appear to be too serious.
Thabo Sefolosha – 18 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block – B-
Sefolosha played a little less than he did vs. the Spurs. Scott Brooks gave rookie Perry Jones III some run instead and also played Eric Maynor extended minutes with a small lineup. Sefolosha didn’t even attempt a three on offense and there was a point when you just wanted Martin to check in for him to give the Thunder more offensive scoring power.
Nick Collison – 28 minutes, 12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists – A-
Collison played a very good game last night and the 12 points were gravy for him. Collison said before the season he would be looking to score more on offense and that should be a good thing for OKC. If anything, it will mean an excuse to increase his minutes instead of Perkins.
Eric Maynor – 16 minutes, 2 points – C+
Amazingly, Maynor has yet to record an assist so far this season. He hasn’t played bad though and you still feel like one of OKC’s bets playmakers is on the floor when he’s out there. He was plus-12 in his 16 minutes vs. Portland which is a good sign.
Hasheem Thabeet – 18 minutes, 4 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks – B
Thabeet’s presence was felt last night as he made both of his shots and was tough to deal with on defense. He may end up fitting in just fine in OKC as their backup center but you still would rather see more small lineups than big ones. Thabeet did foul out in his 18 minutes.
Perry Jones, III – 5 minutes, 2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist – B
It was Jones’ NBA debut and he played a little hesitant. The assist he got came on a drive and kick which was impressive to watch at his size, taking his man off the dribble from past the 3-point line. His one bucket was nice too but sometimes he seems to be looking for an excuse to pass.
Jeremy Lamb – 1 minute, 3 points – A+
Lamb was amazing in his one minute. He got the ball once, sized up his man from 30-feet at the top of the key and coolly let fly a bomb that ripped nothing but net. His absolute non-reaction to making the shot was pretty awesome too.