There’s no chance to win without Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, right? It turns out there’s more to the Oklahoma City Thunder than just their two superstars, winning 102-91 against the Denver Nuggets, their first of the season, led by Serge Ibaka and Perry Jones, carrying the offense despite the lack of faith from outside the organization.
The Thunder played some very good defense and ran away with the game early, as Jones carried on with his very good form to start the season, scoring 23 points on 9-of-18 from the field. Ibaka also scored 23 points while Sebastian Telfair set them up with nine assists, also adding four steals along the way. Andre Roberson scored 8 points to go with 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks, while Kendrick Perkins surprised everyone from the bench with 17 points, helped out by Lance Thomas who scored 12.
The Thunder’s rotation is down to only eight players at the moment, and it’s going to be that way for a month or so. No Durant, no Westbrook, but Reggie Jacksin, Anthony Morrow and Jeremy Lamb are also injured. For now, the Thunder have an available roster that looks more like one of the worst teams in the NBA. However, Scott Brooks knows a thing or two about defense, regardless of his offensive players, and that ability will help keep the Thunder’s head above water as long as Jones and Ibaka make shots, while Telfair doesn’t decimate their offense with implosions.
The Nuggets lost for the first time this season, getting a disappointing performance from their two forwards, Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari, each scoring 7 points. Ty Lawson was their best player as always, scoring 25 points, but he also turned the ball over seven times, Arron Afflalo (14 points) and Timofey Mozgov (10 points) finished in double figures as well, with the Nuggets very likely to struggle away from home early on this season.