Blazers 106, Thunder 92
Observations, news and notes from Wednesday’s game…….
* Amazing the Thunder got out-rebounded 16-4 in the fourth quarter. That seems to be almost impossible.
* Give OKC credit for going on the road and competing hard two straight nights against playoff teams.
* I thought the Blazers’ 9-0 run to end the half could have been back-breaking, especially the way it ended with Travis Outlaw getting loose for a breakaway dunk. But the Thunder showed some fight by getting back into it.
* Nobody wanted to blame the late-game mistakes on the second game of a back-to back.
* The poor shooting, 39 percent to be exact, doomed the Thunder again.
* OKC turned the ball over just 12 times, a good number for the second straight game.
* Joe Smith got the night off to give him more rest and a longer weekend this All-Star break. It’s worth noting that he did leave Staples Center on Tuesday night with his left knee heavily wrapped. I didn’t make much of it until he didn’t play tonight.
* Durant has gotten really good at drawing fouls and getting an easy trip to the free throw line by swinging his arms through the defender. It’s a move that San Antonio forward Tim Duncan has perfected popularized and one Durant has been trying to nail since November. He’s finally got it, and it will ultimately help him become that much more efficient.
* Chris Wilcox got some surprising playing time tonight. It helped that Nick Collison picked up two early fouls and Joe Smith got the night off. But Wilcox made the most of it, dumping in 11 points and five rebounds on 5-for-9 shooting in just 11 minutes in the first half. On one possession with 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter, he threw down a one-handed dunk off a lob pass from Durant. It’s that dimension that no other Thunder post player possesses and one that you would think coach Scott Brooks would utilize more on a team that looks to score in transition.
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