Thunder 110, Warriors 87
Nuggets from my notebook from Friday’s win over Golden State.
- Let’s start with what everyone wants to know. Russell Westbrook is fine. He had to leave the game late in the third quarter after rolling his right ankle. He did not return. But he walked briskly out of the locker room, and his foot appeared to be just fine. I have absolutely no doubt that he’ll play Sunday.
- Kendrick Perkins missed his first game of the season because of a sore knee. Apparently, he banged knees with someone late in the Houston game. I don’t remember it. But he’s day-to-day. Thunder coach Scott Brooks said he’ll see how he feels tomorrow.
- Thabo Sefolosha is out a month.
- As if that wasn’t enough carnage, Lazar Hayward got poked in the eye and wasn’t doing so well after the game.
- The injury bug has finally hit. While only Eric Maynor’s is really severe, the Thunder, like other teams have done this season, will now have to maintain and find a way to get it done while banged up. That’s what this season has been about, and now it’s the Thunder’s reality.
- Another slow start. I blame this one on the makeshift starting lineup the Thunder had to trot out because of the injuries. OKC looked lethargic and played extremely carelessly for much of the first 12 minutes until the Warriors went up 24-20 at the end of the quarter.
- The Thunder had six first-quarter turnovers, five coming in a three-minute span on five out of seven possessions. They came about every way imaginable: two bad passes, a 3-second violation, a traveling violation and an illegal screen.
- After the raggedy start, the Thunder outscored the Warriors 90-63 in the final three quarters.
- This was the first time in three tries that OKC held Golden State under 100 points. The Warriors shot just 34.8 percent for the game and scored just 39 points on 30 percent shooting in the second half.
- Most impressively, the Thunder didn’t get sucked into the run-and-gun style of play that characterized the two games in Oakland. That’s a big part of the Thunder’s desired identity, to play any style but to really set the tone and make teams succumb to how it plays.
- A lot of good things in this one. A whole lot. Assists stood out. Thunder had 24 of them tonight, one shy of tying its season high. And get this. Eleven of the 12 active players had at least one helper. Said James Harden: “That’s beautiful basketball.”
- All 12 active players scored, too.
- The bench scored 55 points tonight. That’s got to be a season-high, right?
- I thought Kevin Durant looked out of it early. He was missing shots, sort of loafing on defense and didn’t seem that aggressive on either end. I thought it might have something to do with perhaps being emotional over parting ways with his agent. But in true superstar fashion, the guy nearly nets a triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. The five turnovers were troubling, though, as some were just silly plays.
- With Perk out, Nazr Mohammed got the start and Cole Aldrich got the reserve minutes. And Cole didn’t do anything to quell everyone’s desire to see him. He wasn’t great. But he just knows how to be active and make his presence felt in ways Perk and Naz don’t seem to do. The thing that shocks me is how much more athletic Aldrich makes the center position look compared to Perk and Naz. Unfortunately, that says more about Perk and Naz than Cole.
- Loved Nick Collison’s energy and effort tonight. Then again, when do I not?
- Reggie Jackson is stringing together a few solid games. You can see he knows how to make the right pass and get teammates involved. He still doesn’t have the freedom to score the ball. But as he gets comfortable, you gotta think that’s coming. First, he needs to make a decision and go. All the dribbling is driving everyone crazy.
- Can’t say enough about Royal Ivey. The guy doesn’t get meaningful minutes in 28 straight games and then starts playing his tail off in the last two. That’s called being a professional. His defense and perimeter shooting both were impressive tonight.
- Nate Robinson: 1-for-6 in his return. No bench stare downs tonight.
- I wonder what the record for biggest point swing in between games for a player against the same team in consecutive meetings? Wonder if Monta Ellis came close. He had 48 last time these two teams met and 11 tonight on 4-for-13 shooting.
- Stephen Curry, another Thunder killer, had the same 11 on 4-for-13.
- Not Daequan Cook’s night. He couldn’t get a shot to fall, not from 3-point range (only one attempt), not a fast break dunk attempt he had (his only other field goal attempt), and he missed two of three free throws. To add to that, he turned it over on a horrible lob pass to KD. The block he had on Curry’s mid-range jumper that led to his dunk attempt was nice, though.
- Cook had attempted just two foul shots coming into tonight. He’s up to five for the year after taking three. That is amazing to me, even for a guy who just stands around the arc and shoots when he catches it. Last year, Cook attempted 20 foul shots. The year before that, he attempted 25. He’s on pace for 10 this year.
- OK, I’m tired of Jeremy Lin.
- A 19-turnover night. But Brooks said he was pleased that tonight’s giveaways were the kind you can live with.
- Ryan Reid is hitting mid-range Js now? Are you kidding me? He’s about to become my Nate Robinson from last year. You’ve been warned. I’m close to firing up the ‘play the kid’ anthem.
- The Thunder is now 6-1 after a loss.
- Just two blocked shots for Serge Ibaka. I think he’s in a slump.
- I always feel bad for guys that come home and don’t get any love from the fans. Ekpe Udoh got that treatment tonight. I think there two people screamed when the Edmond native checked in for the first time.
- Tonight’s most mind-blowing but meaningless stat: 22 offensive rebounds for the Warriors. TWENTY-TWO!! That’s not going to help the ol’ league-worst average. I don’t have to tell you that’s a season high given up by the Thunder. With that said, it didn’t matter because the Thunder won by 23, yielding just 87 points despite giving up 89 shots (15 more than OKC took).
- Up next. Denver on Sunday. Don’t forget. It’s a 7 p.m. start time rather than the customary Sunday 6er since ESPN will be here.
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