Oklahoma City Thunder: Revelations from Game 1
Here’s what happens when the Thunder routs the Lakers 119-90 in a game that was not as close as the score indicated. You forget some really cool stuff. So many wild things happened, great things for the Thunder, that it was hard to keep it all straight get it in the paper. So here’s what I would have mentioned if I had had time to reflect:
* The Lakers led 4-3, Metta World Chaos had just drained a 3-pointer to let Oklahomans know they would have absolutely no effect on him, and we still didn’t know how Kevin Durant would match up with Chaos, who two years ago dogged Durant into a miserable playoff series. Durant got the ball near the top of the circle, drove the left side and threw down a dunk left-handed. Left-handed. If Durant has done that before, I haven’t seen it.
Then and there, you figured Chaos’ dominating D on Durant was over. And sure, Durant had a solid game. Nothing spectacular — 8-of-16 shooting, 25 points in 28-plus minutes. But we’ve moved on from 2010. Chaos remains a quality defender. But Durant’s offense now trumps Chaos’ defense.
* Conversely, Thabo Sefolosha’s defense has made some inroads on Kobe Bryant’s offense. Two years ago, Thabo did an excellent job guarding Kobe. But excellent back then meant you weren’t completely embarrassed. Now, it means something different.
Thabo played just 17 minutes Monday night. During those 17 minutes, Kobe was on the court the entire time. And he scored four points. Four points! Can you believe that? Kobe finished with 20 points in 32 minutes. With Thabo on the court, Kobe made one of six shots and was 2-of-2 from the foul line. Think about that. Two foul shots for Kobe. One field goal.
With Thabo on the bench, Kobe made six of 11 shots and 3-of-5 foul shots, for 16 points. Kobe already is tired of Thabo.
* Meanwhile, Kendrick Perkins’ defense on Andrew Bynum wasn’t dominating. Perk played just 17 minutes (and seven seconds), and in those 17 minutes Bynum scored 12 points, on 5-of-8 shooting, with two foul shots. I know, Perk’s defense is valuable even when Bynum is effective. Playing Bynum one-on-one — which Perkins does and few other NBA centers attempt — means the Lakers don’t get wide open shots on the perimeter. Kobe is the only Laker who can score while being semi-guarded on the perimeter. Steve Blake shot Denver out of the playoffs in Game 7 Saturday night, but when he’s guarded, he looks like the second-leading scorer for Hickory High. Perk makes that happen.
VIDEOS FROM NBA TV
Buy Tickets View all
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients