Thunder Escapes Against Golden State
News, notes and observations from Tuesday’s 115-114 overtime win over Golden State.
- I thought tonight’s game would be decent. I didn’t expect this.
- The Warriors always seem to play the Thunder tough, and tonight was no different. Even when the Thunder got up 14, Golden State wasted little time storming back.
- But the end to regulation was just ridiculous. It came out of nowhere. The Thunder looked to be in cruise control after Russell Westbrook made two foul shots to put the home team up six with 13.5 seconds left. Then, things just fell apart.
- Reggie Williams hit a huge 3 that pulled the Warriors within three. Then Daequan Cook and Kevin Durant had a miscommunication on the inbounds pass.Monta Ellis stole it away and sank a game-tying three. All that came in 4.2 seconds.
- As I wrote for Wednesday’s paper, three people took the blame for the botched play. Cook, Durant and Thunder coach Scott Brooks. Cook said he made the pass that led to the turnover so it was his fault. Durant said he just stood there and watched without securing the ball as it was being passed to him so it was his fault. And Brooks said he should have called a timeout after Williams’ 3 so it was his fault. Nice show of team unity.
- Here’s exactly what Durant said. “I felt so bad. I caused (Cook) to throw that ball away. He threw it to my hand and I just stood there and watched…I apologized to Daequan. I won’t put him in that position again.”
- For as long as I cover the Thunder, I hope I never see another fadeaway jumper by Durant when he has a chance to win the game. It’s worked, what, once. Try something else!
- No matter what happened at the end of regulation, the Thunder deserves a lot of credit for bouncing back and closing out the Warriors in overtime. This thing could have gone south quick. And it didn’t help that David Lee was wrestling away the Thunder’s lead by getting three-point play opportunities and Ellis buried a huge 3 that put Golden State up two with 1:10 left. Coupled with how regulation ended, those could have been back-breaking plays. But the Thunder never let them be. They bounced back from each of them.
- OKC is now 8-1 in overtime games. The team handed out a neat stat after the game. The Thunder became just the fifth team in NBA history to win eight overtime games. Detroit (8-0) did it in 2002. Sacramento (9-4) did it in 2000. Philadelphia (8-6) did it in 1990. And Milwaukee (8-1) did it in 1977. I’ve got a feeling the Thunder will play at least one more overtime game in these final nine.
- A 5-1 home stand ain’t bad.
- Chew on this. The Thunder has also won six games by one point.
- I have to tip my cap to Golden State for their tenacity in this one. The Warriors just kept coming and coming and coming. And what made it so impressive is that Ellis and Dorrell Wright, two of Golden State’s top scorers, struggled all night shooting the rock. They went a combined 11-for-43 to get 27 points. I didn’t think the Thunder’s defense on either of them was particularly great. They just missed shots. But it’s a testament to the Warriors that they were still in this game.
- Now to Stephen Curry. My, oh my!!!! That boy can ball! Give him an inch of space and he will destroy you. He had 35 on 13 of 23 shot s tonight. Curry and Lee (24 points, 15 rebounds) kept the Warriors in it tonight.
- I still think James Harden was the right pick. He’s bigger, stronger and more versatile.
- Durant had a game-high 39 points. It was his first 30-point game since March 14 and only his third this month.
- I can’t believe KD got the rip move call in overtime. I wasn’t in Golden State coach Keith Smart’s post game press conference. But I was told he had some comments about the rip move, saying it should be examined in the off-season. Doesn’t sound like he’s a fan.
- Nick Collison did not play in this one because of a sprained ankle.
- With Collison out, Nate Robinson, who is healed from knee surgery, was active and available tonight but did not play. I sure wish he did.
- Great catch by one official who correctly called an early runoff of the clock in the final seconds of OT. The clock operator ran off 1.9 seconds before the ball was inbounded. By the time a Warriors player touched it, the clock showed four seconds.
- Raise your hand if you thought Ellis was about to send everyone home ticked off.
- Now raise your hand if you left early and are ticked off at yourself.
- Durant’s buzzer-beating 3 at the end of the third quarter was huge. It was a shot that stopped the Warriors’ onslaught, which was a 22-6 run. And it put the Thunder up 78-77. The Thunder came into this game 37-4 when leading after three quarters. OKC was 10-18 when trailing after three quarters.
- Cook was just 2-for-6 in the first half. But it felt like he was 5-for-6. Every time he shoots it you think it’s going in. Cook finished just 2-for-8, though, and it’s nights like tonight that he doesn’t need to log 21 minutes.
- Cook ran into a waitress standing courtside and sent drinks flying everywhere. They just so happened to land on KD’s family laps. Durant’s brother, Tony, had on tan pants and a right leg smeared with beer. Durant laughed about it after the game.
- Desmond Mason sat courtside tonight. For some reason, I always think it’s cool when he’s at the game.
- I was amazed that Ellis didn’t get a technical foul call with 1:07 left in the second quarter. Referee Josh Tiven looked to have mistakenly pointed in the wrong direction when making a call on whose ball it was. When Tiven corrected his call and awarded the ball to the Thunder, Ellis lost it. He slammed the ball right in front of Tiven and screamed, ‘That’s bullshit!” Play carried on.
- To be fair, Serge Ibaka deserved a T for hanging on the rim early in the third after his dunk on Ekpe Udoh.
- Westbrook finished two layups with his left hand in the first half. He’s really, really good at that. Westbrook is left-handed. But he shoots with his right. When he finishes with his left, though, it looks just as good if not better than when he finishes with his right.
- Not a good night for Westbrook. But what does that say when a guy flirts with a triple-double (15 points, nine assists, eight rebounds) and it’s not a good performance? Westbrook took 15 shots to get 15 points, though, and turned it over six times, two of which were offensive fouls. He’s simply forcing things right now.
- Anyone else notice how Eric Maynor and James Harden helped the Thunder open a nine-point lead with just over six minutes left in the fourth? They did it through by sharing the ball and by letting defense lead to offense. Then did you notice how all that stopped when Westbrook came back in? I thought Brooks would actually leave Maynor out there. But he fell victim to the scripted rotations.
- A perhaps overlooked area tonight: the Thunder’s second chances. More specifically, the ones in OT. OKC had three opportunities for second-chance points in the extra period and came up empty on them all. Two of them were missed bunnies by Ibaka and Perk. Got to finish those.
- Kendrick Perkins goes scoreless on 0-for-3 shooting but has a team-high 13 rebounds to help OKC out-rebound Golden State 52-42. It was a good game by Big Perk.
- Nazr Mohammed hasn’t gotten a single call since joining the Thunder. I may be wrong. But I doubt it.
- Speaking of Big Perk, I took the time tonight for the first time to read some of Perkins’ tattoos. On his right triceps, he has ‘Big Perk.’ Across his back, just below the bottom of his neck he has ‘Texas Boy’ written in some kind of fancy script.
- Ball-playing piano dude is a quality halftime act. He does a nice job.
- That’s it for tonight. Thunder can tie last season’s win total with a W tonight at Phoenix. Our man John Rohde will have you covered for that one.
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