Perry Jones III hadn’t been in the game 90 seconds.
But Kevin Durant didn’t like what he was seeing.
And so the Thunder star called over his second-year teammate, pulling him off the lane during a free-throw attempt despite OKC owning a 15-point lead.
“Wake your (blankety blank) up,” Durant barked at Jones near the scorer’s table.
No one needed to give Durant a wake-up call.
Facing its first conference contender without Russell Westbrook, the Thunder sent a message with a wire-to-wire 117-86 win over Houston on Sunday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
And no statement was louder than the one Durant delivered.
He dominated throughout, carrying his teammates with both bold words and beautiful actions, all the while proving he has plenty in reserve to keep his franchise afloat while it’s missing its All-Star point guard.
Durant scored 33 points with 13 rebounds, both game highs, and added five assists, a steal and a blocked shot. He made 11 of 17 shots in 38 minutes.
But it wasn’t just the numbers that defined Durant’s night.
It was the pep in his step, the look in his eyes and the fire and intensity with which he played. He took his game to a higher level Sunday in a showdown he knows could turn into a playoff rematch this spring.
From chewing out an up-and-coming teammate to a second-quarter stare down of old nemesis Francisco Garcia when things got too physical on the low block, Durant was dialed in the whole way.
He harassed an official when he drew a foul call and it was called on Terrence Jones instead of Dwight Howard.
He squawked at the Rockets bench after hitting a jumper over former teammate James Harden, a play he orchestrated the entire way when he called for a screen that would force Harden to switch and be left isolated on the right wing.