If Kevin Durant finishes a game with only 11 field goals attempted, it can only mean two things: either Russell Westbrook was in one of his selfish modes while Scott Brooks is too afraid to bench him, or the game went so well the Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t need their best player to do what he does best.
It was the latter, by the way. The Thunder beat the Dallas Mavericks 112-91, strolling through the second half after scoring 68 first half points. Durant scored 19 points on 6-11 from the field, adding 10 rebounds and four assists.
The last time they came in here, they hit us in the mouth early, and I just told the guys that we’ve got to be the first hitter tonight and we’ve got to come out with a lot of energy, and I think we did that.
Russell Westbrook led the team in scoring; no one remembering or at least reminding him of his childish tantrum on the bench from a few nights ago. Westbrook scored 24 points, adding 7 assists and 3 steals on a calm 8-16 performance from him. Kevin Martin also scored in double figures off the bench (17 points) while Serge Ibaka added 12 points.
The Thunder simply have the Mavs’ number; ever since losing to Dallas in the 2011 Western Conference Final, the Thunder have won 10 of 11 against the Mavs, including three games this season and sweeping them in the playoffs last year. The Mavericks fell to 20-28, leaving them 5.5 games behind the 8th spot in the Western Conference. The Thunder, at 36-12, are 1.5 games behind the San Antonio Spurs in the race for the top spot in the West.
Once again, it was too much open floor opportunities for the Thunder against a team that doesn’t run very well. The Thunder finished with 25 assists, as even Reggie Jackson, spending double the usual amount of time on the floor, had six assists in 21 minutes. After the Thunder have alternated wins and losses for their past nine games, making them lose their lead on top of the West, it was time for a convincing win that might bring them back on course.
We responded well. The toughest test is to see how we do the next game. It’s easy to do it. … We’ve got to see if we can sustain it and keep going the next game.
One thing about the Thunder this season is their edginess. Even in games like this, they get called for three technical fouls. Kevin Durant of all people is second in the NBA with nine this season. Maybe it’s a little diva mentality that’s sticking to him from Russell Westbrook, although Westbrook usually takes it out on his own teammates instead of officials. Kendrick Perkins, always a sensitive soul, didn’t like a few words O.J. Mayo sent his way, and picked up his seventh technical of the season.
I’ve just got to shut up. I’m racking them up. Sometimes I get too excited and I voice my opinion when I shouldn’t. I’ve just got to shut up and play the game.