Kevin Durant finished with 31 points, but that’s only a third of the story. James Harden finished with 30, and so did Russell Westbrook. The most impressive offensive unit in the NBA scored 90 of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 115-104 win over the Phoenix suns, showing once again why they’re the best in the West.
It was all about numbers, insane numbers. Only two other players even scored for the Thunder – Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka. Ibaka had another rare statistical night – Finishing with 18 points and 20 rebounds. It was the Thunder’s 14 consecutive win at home, moving them to 31-8, by far the best in the West.
And the Thunder’s best kept secret was again on display, their fourth quarter defense, keeping the Phoenix Suns at 16 points, scoring 31 themselves. There’s always the question of who should take more shots, but it’s not that much of a problem for the Thunder. The whole Westbrook – Durant thing from earlier this season? Some say it was just the media creating something that was never there.
Westbrook was actually the more responsible ones when it came to shots, finishing with 11-21 from the field, while Durant had a rough 10-27 night. Westbrook also finished with 10 assists. Steve Nash couldn’t really keep up with one of the most athletic players in the league, finishing with 12 points and 13 assists. Martin Gortat led the Suns with 28 points and 11 rebounds.
In terms of history, this night hasn’t happened for the franchise in over 20 years. Back when there was this thing called the Seattle Supersonics, Dale Ellis (37), Xavier McDaniel (31) and Tom Chambers (30) nearly reached 100. That was 1988. The Thunder aren’t the only team in the league capable of producing 30 points from 3 players. The Heat can definitely do it, but that’s any kind of measuring stick for the quality of a team.
The important thing is the rest of the guys knowing and willing to do their job. Having Perkins, who could do better, lock up the paint and Ibaka joining him, hovering above, swatting everything. Having Nick Collison do whatever it is he does so well. Hustle, defense, rebounds. Talent? This might be the most gifted team in the league, give or take, and maybe it all depends on the given day.
But the Thunder keep winning, especially at home, and keep impressing. I think the Heat are still the best team in the league, but it’s always a toss up at this point of the season, with still enough time for things to change. I don’t see the Thunder doing any major wheelin’ and dealin’, probably not at all. They have the right chemistry, decent depth with Harden capable of outscoring entire bench units.
The keys are their crunch time defense, the chemistry, and Russell Westbrook’s decision making, which tends to push him into taking unnecessary shots once in a while. If these things will keep running smooth, you can chalk up the Thunder being on of the two teams in the NBA finals. No one in the West can touch them in a 7 game series.