By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Through three uncharacteristic quarters, Kevin Durant was 5-18 from the field, struggling to find his shot and allowing Indiana to stay in the game. But the scoring machine finally found his groove early in the fourth quarter, his favorite time, putting the Pacers away with four straight made shots and a quick 10 points.
It was over when…
…Russell Westbrook followed KD’s lead, erasing his early struggles with an impressive statement in the final minutes. It started with an out-of-nowhere block, turning away an oblivious dunk attempt from 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert. And it ended with three straight smooth jumpers, capping off a 10-2 run to end the game with his vintage pull-ups.
Star of the game – Kevin Martin
Kevin Martin has been better than advertised since arriving in OKC (and he came with a well-earned scoring reputation). But as a member of the Thunder, he hasn’t put together a better half than he did Sunday night. Martin was unconscious in the first 24 minutes, coming off the bench to spark an initially lifeless offense. In the first half, Martin shot 6/7 for 22 points, while Westbrook and Durant (combined) struggled through a 5/19 showing for only 18 points. The stars were stars late, but they wouldn’t have been in that position if it weren’t for OKC’s quiet bench assassin.
That’s 12 consecutive games with 100 or more points for the Thunder offense. Since the franchise moved to OKC, the previous best was a seven-game streak above the century mark. And on Sunday, OKC did it against the NBA’s best scoring defense (Indiana entered giving up 91.2 points per game).
Stat of the game
The Thunder bench outscored Indiana’s 38-20, marking the fourth straight game OKC’s improved second unit has outscored its opposing counterparts.
Not sure if Martin will ever replace Harden in the fans heart, but his silky shooting touch has certainly made the heartbreak a lot easier.
GIF of the game
Click the link and enjoy 6-foot-3 Russell Westbrook swatting 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert.
Game three of this favorable five-game homestand comes Wednesday, after a nice two-day break, when New Orleans comes to Oklahoma City. The Thunder have played the Hornets twice this season, blowing them out both times in New Orleans.