By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Oklahoma City demolished a Derrick Rose-less Bulls team 102-72 on Sunday night. Here’s some rapid reaction:
Derrick Rose’s lingering knee issues have extended his rehab and absence into late February (and potentially beyond). That essentially sealed this one up for the Thunder, because without Rose, this stagnant Chicago offense had no chance of equaling OKC’s firepower. That was evident early, with the Thunder jumping out to a 13-point halftime lead and cruising from there.
It was over when…
…the Thunder remained focused and dominant after the break, doubling that 13-point cushion into a 26-point blowout by the end of the third quarter. That meant an extended rest for Westbrook and Durant, allowed to sit the final 12 minutes for the fourth time in OKC’s past five home games.
Star of the game – Russell Westbrook
Westbrook has been tremendous the past two games, scoring 60 points in 67 minutes, on a scorching 23/39 from the field. That’s some of the most dominant and efficient play of his career, where Westbrook has identified some obvious defensive mismatches (Ricky Rubio, Luke Ridnour, J.J. Barea and Nate Robinson trying to guard him) and immediately exploited it. To top it off, he threw in a monster highlight slam on Sunday night, complete with a filthy dunkface.
Rising – Kevin Durant’s rebounding
KD had a double-double by halftime on Sunday (13 points and 10 rebounds) and 16 boards by the end of the third quarter. Just like the start of the season, he’s gone on a rebounding binge to start the second half, averaging 11.6 in the past three games.
Falling – Kevin Durant’s field goal percentage
He’s shooting 19/49 since the All-Star break. That’s 38.7 percent, well below his season mark of 51.2 percent.
Stats of note
-The Bulls shot 29.1 percent from the field, the lowest of any team this season.
-Taking away the Heat loss, OKC has won its past five home games by 21, 21, 31, 16 and 30 points.
-Thabo Sefolosha is 8/14 from three since the All-Star Break.
Nate Robinson certainly has his basketball flaws, as evidenced by his erratic showing on Sunday: 2/14 shooting, 1/8 from three and a plus/minus of -23. But the high energy guard is wildly entertaining to watch, and provides us with some great unintentional comedy, like in the video below. Did he really think he could hammer on Serge?
OKC gets a couple days off (allowing them to weather the impeding snow storm) before finishing this brief three-game homestand Wednesday night at 7 p.m. against New Orleans. The Thunder is 3-0 vs the Hornets this season.