The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Utah Jazz on the road Wednesday night 101-98 in the season-opener.
It was a good all around game for the Thunder despite what the box score may imply.
OKC was without Russell Westbrook of course and played 10 players total in the game.
Alec Burks led the Jazz with 24 points off the bench.
Kevin Durant – 39 minutes, 42 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals – A
Durant got off to a really hot start making his first few jumpers. He played very under control all night taking what Utah gave him. The number that jumps out is 22-24 from the free throw line. Durant got a few favorable calls but overall was just too much for Utah to handle. He wasn’t doubled much and he didn’t handle the ball a ton, which is why he only ended up with one assist. It’s hard to complain about KD going for 42 in the first game of the season.
Serge Ibaka – 38 minutes, 8 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks – C
The Thunder tried to get Ibaka going on his own early, and he struggled. He missed a bunch of short shots in the paint that were kind of floaters on his part. Finishing like that is something he still really needs to improve at. He did knock down his jumpers at a high rate, which was good to see. He wasn’t a huge force defensively, as Utah had some success inside. He went just 4-for-15 from the field.
Reggie Jackson – 32 minutes, 14 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 5 steals – B
In his first ever start, Jackson set a career-high with five steals. He was solid and not too special. He ran the offense, took what the defense gave him and didn’t create much out of nothing. I think we will see Jackson featured more in the pick-and-roll as the season goes on.
Thabo Sefolosha – 31 minutes, 14 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist – B+
Players are going to need to step up with Russ out and Thabo did just that last night. He made 2-of-5 threes which is fine. He had some nice finishes leading the fast break. When Thabo is aggressive, it’s always a good thing.
Kendrick Perkins – 27 minutes, 4 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist – B
For Perkins, this was a good night. He was good on the glass and is always pretty solid on defense, especially against younger guys. He finished around the rim a few times, which is always a bonus for the Thunder. In the fourth, I was glad to see him come in for Adams, who was struggling a little.
Nick Collison – 13 minutes, 6 points, 4 rebounds – C+
Collison got in foul trouble in the second half, which really hurt the Thunder. When he came out, the Jazz started to come back. Collison appeared a little bit more aggressive on offense, something he’s said he wants to be this season. The more Collison, the better.
Jeremy Lamb – 17 minutes, 4 points, 3 rebounds – C
Lamb made two midrange jumpers and that was it. He had a nice touch on those, but didn’t get many other opportunities. He seemed to rush a few of his threes on catch-and-shoot situations. The game looks to be going pretty fast for him. Once it starts to slow down, his talent should reveal itself. It’s just a matter of getting him more reps.
Steven Adams – 18 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist – C+
Adams got off to a nice start and had two offensive rebounds in the first half. He was pretty quiet in the second half and was getting beat on defensive box outs a few times, which was worrisome. It wasn’t the best we’ll see from Adams.
Derek Fisher – 17 minutes, 4 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds – B
There was nothing wrong with what Fisher did last night. He is who he is. Hopefully, he can knock down the shots he takes. Hopefully, he can stay in front of his man. He did those things. When Westbrook comes back, let’s hope Brooks doesn’t play Fish over Lamb.
Perry Jones – 7 minutes, 3 points, 2 rebounds – B-
Jones only played in the first half and was okay. He looks a little more assertive this year, but still doesn’t contribute a ton. He was basically Durant’s backup playing the small forward. Since he’s not a great outside shooter, it may be tough for him to generate offense at this spot. He had a nice fast break dunk and didn’t do anything wrong.