Unlike OKC’s first two tough uphill grinding victories of the season this was one was over before the fourth quarter ever arrived as OKC expanded a 58-50 halftime lead into an easy win with a 37-20 third period explosion over the undermanned Denver Nuggets for a 117-93 cakewalk.
Several things of note. This marks the first time since OKC’s NBA Finals appearance in 2011-12 in which the Thunder have started a season 3-0. Second thing–this was the biggest margin of victory since the Thunder whipped New Orleans 119-74 back on February 27, 2013. Third thing—It seemed like Christmas last year during the dumpster fire, injury riddled season before OKC hit 3-12 in garnering its third win. I know it wasn’t Christmas, but let’s just pretend it was for dramatic effect.
Billy Donovan and his Thunder did everything I ask of them in my pregame preview so they get an A from okcthunderground.com on this report card.
They did the following:
- Moved the basketball as in garnering 32 assists to 19 turnovers.
- Played decent defense as in holding the Nuggets to 38% from the field on the night.
- Got Serge Ibaka going early in what was easily his best game of the season with 18 points, 7 boards, 4 assists and 5 blocked shots.
- Pounded Denver on the boards 50-35.
- Took good shots and shot 52.3% from the field.
- Had seven different players score in double figures with Durant leading the way with an earthly 25 points.
- Got both Durant and Westbrook off the floor for the night with only 28 and 25 minutes logged on their respective bodies. Hoping to see much more of this trend as the season unfolds.
OKC now goes to Houston for a game against the now 0-3 Houston Rockets. My take is this–don’t worry about the Rockets because the Warriors, the Clippers and the Spurs are all going to very tough…especially the defending world champion Warriors who are 3-0 and playing with a chip on their shoulder. Just beat the 0-3 Rockets and move on.
Excellent, professional, workmanlike win. Crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s. That’s all you can ever ask of your ball club. Life is good. Beat James Harden. Piss on Patrick Beverly. Our OKC Thunder is back.