What We Learned About The Thunder
We learned Daequan Cook has value.There was no way to know that with him in street clothes rather than a uniform. Making only his third appearance since early November, Cook almost knocked off his previous employer on Sunday. Cook certainly knocked off the rust (6 for 12 on 3-pointers) and was ready when needed. What Cook lacks in defense he makes up for in effort and intelligence. When Thabo Sefolosha returns, presumably Cook will move one seat down on the bench, but should he? The way I see it, the heat just got turned up a notch on James Harden, who is shooting 23.1 percent (9 for 39) from 3-point range in the last 11 games.
Serge Ibaka is in some kind of doghouse. Nine minutes and 13 seconds? That’s ridiculous. The Thunder got very few perimeter baskets from its big men and quit even trying by mid-game. Ibaka isn’t a great interior defender, but the Heat doesn’t have great post scoring. Ibaka’s shot-blocking could have been useful on Dwyane Wade’s drives. But Scotty Brooks is down on Ibaka. Said Serge wasn’t ready to play. Who knew? Hey, guys, get this thing settled. The Thunder needs Ibaka.
Kevin Durant is ready to shine on the big stage. With his team hosting the season’s first Sunday afternoon showcase game on ABC, Durant stepped up to the plate against LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat. He played his best game in six meetings against James, defending him well throughout and scoring against him with ease at times, and stood toe to toe with Bosh when the two got into a war of words. Durant also mixed it up in the post, battling for boards in the paint unlike he’s done many times in the past. Sunday’s game was the blueprint for Durant. Replicate that effort in the big games, and the Thunder has a shot to do some real damage when it matters most.
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