Kevin Durant needed 345 games to get his first 50 point game, scoring 51 points in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 124-118 overtime win over the Denver Nuggets. He combined with Russell Westbrook for 91 points and Serge Ibaka added another stasticial gold for the Thunder, completing his first career triple double.
It was the first time in 16 years, since Michael Jordan Scottie Pippen both scored 40 for the Chicago Bulls, that two teammates scored more than 40 points. What, did you actually think Westbrook was going to let Durant out-shoot him? Durant finished with 51 points, making 19-28 from the field, including 7 shots off of Westbrook assists. The point guard finished with 40 points, shooting 16-29, and nine assists, attributing to 60 points for the Thunder.
Ibaka? He had a rare triple double, by dishing out only 7 assists. He scored 14 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked 11 shots. Last time anyone had that kind of triple double was a year ago by Javale McGee. Durant and Westbrook alone outscored 7 others teams who played on Sunday.
Stats aside, the Nuggets are missing Danilo. They’re 2-6 with Gallinari, and couldn’t find scoring from their forwards. Corey Brewer finished with 10 points and Al Harrington added 11 off the bench. Arron Afflalo led them with 27 points, but they just didn’t have enough firepower in a game without much defense, despite Ibaka’s 11 rejections.
The Thunder did outplay the Nuggets down the stretch, but there were plenty of times, despite the amazing finish, that Scott Brooks was clearly unhappy with his players. Not enough will on defense, laziness to get back. These things hurt you in the postseason, and the Thunder, with enough offensive talent as anyone in the league if not more, have got to start putting more of an effort.
It comes down to Westbrook and Durant, who set the tone for the rest of the team. The two won’t combine for 90 points too often, and their attitude on defense will decide how far this team gets to in the postseason. Durant’s steal in overtime was probably a good sign. But for the Thunder, to have us believing they can take a healthy Chicago Bulls team or the Miami Heat come May or June, we need to see more on D. We know they can score.