The Thunder continued to roll towards the playoffs tonight, as they easily defeated the Trail Blazers 106-90. Much like last week’s Pacer game, the Thunder put this game away in one quarter. Today they outscored the Blazers 26-7 in the third quarter. Russell Westbrook scored 17 points in that quarter and finished with 33 for the game. The Thunder’s defensive intensity really won this ball game for them. They held the Blazers to 41% shooting and 31% from three point land, they also forced 11 turnovers. The Blazers never got in a rhythm after halftime and combine that with Westbrook’s scoring outburst in the third, and that was all OKC needed.
In the second quarter the Blazers implemented a zone defense against the Thunder. This really bogged down the Thunder attack for awhile. OKC didn’t attack the zone, instead they stood around and became jump shooters. After the Blazers took a lead, Scott Brooks called a time out and tried to get their zone offense settled down. After this timeout the Thunder looked much better on the offensive end. Westbrook began to attack, dish, and finish. They also got Kevin Durant isolated one on one on the block. We all know how that is going to work out for the opponent as KD abused whoever had the task of guarding him. A Thabo three pointer at the buzzer gave the Thunder a one point lead going into halftime.
As detailed before, Westbrook went crazy in the third quarter, attacking the rim and scoring at will. Durant only scored four points in the quarter, but he was effective as a rebounder and distributor. The Thunder locked up the Blazers and continued their push for the number one seed in the west.
OKC played this game without the services of center Kendrick Perkins and guard Kevin Martin. Both of these players are key components to this team and it was very impressive to see the way the Thunder adjusted without them. Hasheem Thabeet played decent, as usual he was effective blocking shots on the defense end, and as usual was useless on offense. Thabo Sefolosha had a solid game offensively as he finished with 11 points on 4-7 shooting.
The Thunder starters didn’t play any of the fourth quarter with the exception of a few seconds late in the quarter when the Blazers cut their lead to 13. The bench was solid, as they were handed a 20 point lead and managed to keep it around their for the majority of the quarter.
As I mentioned before the Thunder still have a half game lead over the Spurs for the number one seed in the west. I think it is very important for OKC to get home court advantage for the playoffs and they certainly helped their cause tonight.
Player of the Game: I have to give this to Russell Westbrook. He finished the game with 33 points on 10-18 shooting. 17 of his points came in the decisive third quarter and he put the Blazers to bed.