The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls 97-91 on the road last night to improve to 3-2 on the season.
The Thunder trailed by six entering the fourth quarter but would outscore the Bulls 31-19 in the final period.
OKC came out strong to start the fourth scoring nine quick points to take the lead 75-73 and force the Bulls to call time out with 8:36 left.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook would close the door on Chicago in the final minutes. Westbrook made a driving layup with 2:04 left to give the Thunder an 89-87 lead.
Durant then scored six points in the final 46 seconds, two 17-foot jumpers first and then two free throws.
The Thunder shot 49.3 percent from the field in the game and made 20-for-21 free throws. Chicago shot 41.7 percent but had 12 offensive rebounds and took 11 more shots than OKC in the game.
Here are the Game Grades:
Kevin Durant – 38 minutes, 24 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist – B+
If not for Durant closing out the Bulls with two huge jumpers, his grade would have been much lower. He had just one assist to go with six turnovers on the night and only shot two free throws. You just want to see Durant looking to score more aggressively for more of the game.
Russell Westbrook – 36 minutes, 16 points, 12 assists, 2 rebounds – B+
Westbrook went 7-for-22 from the field and simply took way too many shots. He was fantastic as a playmaker though dishing out a season-high 12 assists with three of them coming in the final seven minutes. It was nice to see Westbrook make up for a bad shooting night by doing other things.
Serge Ibaka – 37 minutes, 21 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks – A
Ibaka was looking for his shot very aggressively early on in this one and finished 8-of-15 on the night. He is always going to take that midrange jump shot when he is open and he hit it a few times last night. The blocked shots were all big though and he made some nice moves to the rim and got four offensive boards.
Kevin Martin – 31 minutes, 15 points, 2 assists, 6 rebounds – B
Martin continues to score at least 15 points in every game this season and do it without taking many shots. Last night he went 3-for-5 from the field for his 15 points and 8-of-9 from the free throw line. He seems to fit in with Westbrook and Durant on the court maybe better than James Harden.
Kendrick Perkins – 20 minutes, 0 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal – D
The Thunder were minus-14 in the 20 minutes Perkins played last night so obviously he was a huge hindrance for them. He just gives nothing on offense and in this matchup with Chicago is not as valuable as he can be. Scott Brooks only played him 20 minutes which turned out to be a very wise decision.
Thabo Sefolosha – 39 minutes, 7 points, 3 assists, 7 rebounds – A
Sefolosha is quietly playing much better this season in extended time with Harden now gone. Brooks uses Sefolosha to come back in the game earlier for Durant instead of turning to the rookies. He has taken advantage of it getting more boards and last night also hitting the one 3-pointer he attempted.
Nick Collison – 17 minutes, 4 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists – B+
Not a huge night for Collison but solid as always. The Thunder were plus-15 with him in the game. Compare that to Perkins.
Eric Maynor – 12 minutes, 10 points, 3 assists – A
You can’t ask for much more from Maynor in 12 minutes than what he gave last night. His 3-pointer was very deep and shot with a ton of confidence. When he scores, it is huge for the second unit and he led a very important start to the fourth quarter for OKC. He’s gradually looking more comfortable each game this season.
Hasheem Thabeet – 10 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds, 2 turnovers – D
Thabeet turned his ankle in the fourth quarter and sat the rest of the game. It was probably a good thing because it meant more minutes for Sefolosha. Coming off one of the best games of his career, you didn’t expect Thabeet to go off again and he didn’t.