By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Oklahoma City rolled to an easy 117-97 win over Denver on Wednesday night. Here’s some rapid reaction:
It was over when…
…The Thunder’s dynamic duo rode Monday’s fourth quarter Phoenix explosion into a first half runaway. The Suns win was far too close, considering the opponent. But that wasn’t the case Wednesday night, when OKC rode 41 combined first half points from Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant to a 20-point lead and eventual blowout of the West’s six-seed.
Star of the game – Russell Westbrook
Surprisingly, this is the first time this season Westbrook has put together back-to-back 30-point performances. And only the second time he’s shot over 50 percent in two straight games. Combined, against Phoenix and Denver, the streaky point guard went an impressive 26/44 for 68 points. An impressive stretch sparked by his red hot jump shot.
Rising – Serge Ibaka’s health
After missing two games with a chest contusion, Air Congo was back in flight Wednesday night, highlighted by a high-flying alley oop and-1 throw down. His stats weren’t spectacular (five points, six points and five blocks in 27 minutes), but they didn’t need to be. Ibaka played his role and generally looked like nothing was wrong. Looks like he’s back for good.
Falling – Kevin Durant’s vow to squash the technicals
Durant picked up his team-leading seventh technical in the second quarter Wednesday night, staring down Kenneth Faried after an impressive dunk and drawing a quick (and probably unnecessary) whistle. Those seven T’s are tied for sixth in the NBA, ahead of outspoken players like Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Rajon Rondo and Metta World Peace. Who had that coming into the year?
Worst part about this call? It gives the ‘KD is not nice’ jokes another week of shelf life. Was it warranted? You be the judge.
Stats of note
-KD and Westbrook combined the past two games: 129 points, four turnovers
-The Thunder is now an NBA-best 31-8, including a 19-3 mark at home
-Denver entered the game on a six-game win streak
A six-game road trip looms for the Thunder, with the vacation starting in Dallas on Friday night. Game is on ESPN.