Something wasn’t normal with Kevin Martin as the Oklahoma City Thunder cruised to a 119-98 win against the exhausted Golden State Warriors. Whatever it was, it worked, as Martin joined Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, combining for 68 points in the win.
It’ll only be answered at the end of the season, whether the trade that sent James Harden to Houston and Martin to Oklahoma City worked. You measure these things with NBA titles, not with the +/- of averages between Harden and Martin, playing completely different roles on their new teams, and not on the win column, obviously favoring the Thunder.
The Warriors lost the game before it began, going down 42-22 at some point and after a strong third quarter simply fell off their feet in the fourth. Back-to-backs are never easy, but when fog delays your landing, forcing you to land 100 miles from Oklahoma City and arrive at your hotel at 4:30 in the morning, you’re bound to have a bad game about 12 hours later.
It definitely throws your routine off, especially on a back-to-back. On game day, you can’t really think about it, about that being a crutch for you. Just try to overcome it as much as possible. I don’t know if our energy was a problem. I think it was just a lack of focus at the beginning.
For the Thunder, it was easy work, especially in the fourth. Kevin Martin seemed angry at the way the Warriors were playing, not saying anything direct but referring to their physical play. The Thunder are an angry bunch this season, possibly even a bit touchy. No wonder they’re getting all these technical fouls. Maybe it’s about a feeling of entitlement, but Kevin Durant has already vowed to stop talking so much with the referees. Teams are allowed to beat them once in a while, and I guess there have been too many of those lately.
We were kinda harsh on Russell Westbrook yesterday, but sometimes the numbers are too much to ignore. Westbrook scored 22 points, handing out 5 assists and picking up 4 steals, as he enjoyed playing against a weary Stephen Curry. He took more shots than Durant, again, but nothing is going to change the way Westbrook plays, for good and for bad.
Coach Jackson should talk to a couple of his bench players and make sure they get wet behind the ears before they come barking at a couple of our players. You’ve got to take it personal, what they did. It wasn’t only talking trash. They made a couple of dirty plays to inspire us as a team.
Those are the Warriors this season. A tough group, as Mark Jackson is on a mission to not only win a lot more than anyone has with the team in the last few years (30-19 this season), but also change the mentality, into a tough, hard-nosed group. The Warriors wouldn’t let the Rockets break a three-point shooting record against them by simply fouling every play. Feeling too tired to compete, they resorted to a more physical approach, hoping to throw the Thunder off their game. It didn’t work, losing 98-119.