Observations, news and notes from Saturday’s game……
* The two-on-one fastbreak with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook that ended in a botched alley-oop dunk is not only an example of what’s wrong with this team, it’s the epitome of all that has plagued the Thunder. With a chance to cut the lead to six with 1:16 remaining, two 20-year-olds went for the highlight play instead of the heady one. A few Golden State writers were going nuts at the botched breakaway. I could only shake my head after seeing simple mistakes like that burn this team for 56 games now. One of the Warriors writers put it best when he said of the play, ”Man, that was stupid. But they’re young and they’re fun to watch.”
* OKC is now a league-worst 3-24 on the road. The Thunder is tied with Memphis for road wins but has three more road losses than the Grizzlies.
* Warriors forward Stephen Jackson dominated the fourth quarter, scoring seven points with four assists, two rebounds and two steals. There have been more gaudy stat lines in a quarter, but whenever Golden State needed a play Jackson answered the call.
* I just wish Jackson didn’t whine on every single play. He’s officially got my vote for biggest whiner in the NBA.
* Jeff Green could quickly be establishing himself as the most underrated player in the NBA. He had 27 points, 15 rebounds and six assists tonight, continuing his season-long steady improvement. What’s crazy is nobody has any idea how banged up he is right now because he doesn’t talk about it. I saw one of Green’s left toes covered in some splint-type protection before the game, and after the game he was in the training room getting treatment on his back area. Add those to an elbow injury and getting elbowed in the face and who knows what else and it’s amazing the guy is on the court, let alone performing the way he is.
* The Thunder’s 28 assists were a positive tonight. The 23 turnovers, leading to 30 Golden State points, were deadly.
* Nenad Krstic didn’t have such a good go of it in his second straight start. He picked up two fouls in 34 seconds in the second quarter, and that’s all the time he received in the period. He finished with two points, zero rebounds and four fouls in 13 minutes. Better luck next time.
* Collison picked up the slack for Krstic, making great hustle plays and hitting the boards hard. Guess Brooks was right about knowing what you’re going to get out of him whether he’s a starter or reserve. Collison finished with six points and 11 rebounds in 35 minutes.
* Thabo Sefolosha struggled in his Thunder debut — zero points, one rebound, zero assists, two steals, one turnover and five fouls while going 0-for-3 in 18 minutes. He was OK defensively, but Jamal Crawford was attacking him relentlessly and lighting him up.
* I thought the Thunder’s lineup of Russell Westbrook, Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Green and Collison looked dangerously long and athletic. In time, that lineup will create a lot of problems for opponents on both ends. I couldn’t help but think about how much more effective it would be with Tyson Chandler in the middle instead of Collison. Oh well. Time to move on.
* This was Don Nelson’s 1,300th win as a head coach.
* Kyle Weaver had a career-high 19 points.
* The Thunder outscored the Warriors 10-0 in second-chance points in the first half. The Warriors outscored the Thunder 9-2 in second-chance points in the second half.
* Durant hit the deck hard for the second time in as many nights when he went up for a lob pass with 5:41 left in the first quarter. This one was worse than Shaquille O’Neal’s foul on him Friday night in Phoenix. All of Oracle Arena gasped at the sound of the thump his lanky 6-foot-9 frame made when it hit the hardwood. Durant got up and shook it off with no problem.
* When Green hit a 3-pointer off the glass from just right of the top of the key, he shared a laugh with Durant as they backpedaled down court. The (lucky) shot was reminiscent of the game-winner Green made in this building on Jan. 21.
* Brooks threw out an odd lineup of Earl Watson, Kyle Weaver, Sefolosha, Durant and Collison to start the second.
* Watson fell in love with his jumper in the second quarter. The stats say he took only two shots in the second period but it felt like so much more. Maybe because both were such bad shots, one in transition with 20 seconds on the shot clock, the other a desperation 3 with four seconds left on the shot clock.
* Just when I thought Watson needed to start passing the ball he goes and throws the thing off the backboard to Westbrook for a highlight dunk. Westbrook and Watson walked over to Brian Davis and Grant Long immediately after coming out of the ensuing timeout to check out the replay.
* Westbrook continues to make me look bad for insisting he would hit the rookie wall. Any stats against the Warriors must be taken with a grain of salt. But the rookie had 16 points and 10 assists in the first half for crying out loud. On a very efficient 7-for-11 shooting no less. He finished with 31 points, 11 assists and five rebounds. For the first time, I looked at Westbrook and wondered if his ceiling is a guy named Dwyane Wade.