The Oklahoma City Thunder survived in Portland Sunday night 87-83 despite playing shorthanded without Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha.
It was the first time all season that the Thunder weren’t playing with their starting five. It wasn’t the prettiest win for OKC who is now 29-8 on the year but they got the job done.
Defense was crucial to the win as the Thunder held Portland to 36.0 percent shooting and 6-for-21 shooting from downtown.
This was the second win for the Thunder vs. Portland this season. They will play again two more times this year.
The Thunder will be back in action again tonight on the road vs. the Phoenix Suns at 9 p.m. EST.
Here are the Game Grades:
Kevin Durant – 39 minutes, 33 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists – A+
This may have been Durant’s best game of the season. It was a very LeBron-like game as Durant had the ball in his hands creating as much as ever. Durant was really huge all game long on both ends and you could say the Thunder won because they had Durant and Portland didn’t. Durant was especially great getting to the rim and getting to the line, something that is very important when you’re on the road and jumpers aren’t falling as much.
Russell Westbrook – 34 minutes, 18 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds – B
Westbrook really struggled in this one going 5-for-21 from the field. His jump shot just wasn’t falling and he didn’t have the security blanket of Serge Ibaka to find when he was getting doubled. Westbrook still did a lot of other things that make him so valuable. He nearly had a triple-double but it definitely didn’t feel like it. Westbrook did make a dagger three late off a Durant find and also two clutch free throws in the final seconds.
Kevin Martin – 33 minutes, 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists – D
Martin went back to his shooting woes last night going 1-for-8 from the field and 0-for-5 from three overall. He was very passive with his shot not falling and it nearly cost the Thunder the game. Had he made a few more threes like usual, OKC could have run away with this one.
Kendrick Perkins – 33 minutes, 3 points, 12 rebounds, 2 steals – B
Perkins played great defense on LaMarcus Aldridge despite Aldridge scoring 33 points. Perkins also made up for Ibaka’s absence by hitting the glass hard all night. The Thunder really needed Perk last night and he showed up. They wouldn’t have won without him.
Nick Collison – 22 minutes, 8 points, 3 rebounds – B
Collison got the start in Ibaka’s absence but still only played 22 minutes mainly because Portland used a lot of smaller lineups. He was solid as always while he was out there and made 4-of-5 shots. The Thunder needed every basket they could get last night.
DeAndre Liggins – 40 minutes, 11 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists – A+
Liggins got his first start of the year with Sefolosha out and was fantastic. He made 3-of-3 threes in the game and nearly ended up with a double-double. His energy was awesome on defense as he was a huge reason why Portland struggled so much from the game. Liggins has to have earned more playing time with this performance. If he can keep shooting like this, that will be huge for the Thunder.
Reggie Jackson – 14 minutes, 6 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist – B
Jackson had a pretty solid game making three field goals and again, every bucket was huge for OKC last night with Ibaka out. The decision making is what looked most improved for Jackson last night. The more comfortable he gets, the better he will play because he already has the physical tools to be successful.
Hasheem Thabeet – 16 minutes, 2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 block – C+
Thabeet came in and did his job last night. He wasn’t anything special but wasn’t terrible either. He definitely always has some kind of impact on defense simply because of his size.
Perry Jones, III – 8 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound – C+
Jones got some burn in the first half and had a really nice dunk in traffic. Other than that, it was hard to notice him out there which is the story of Jones so far in his career.