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Nuggets from my notebook from Monday's win over Denver

by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 24, 2014

That looked easy…

  • It took about six minutes for the Thunder to get into it, but once OKC did Denver was done.
  • This was one of the better performances of the year for the Thunder. The offense was crisp and the defense was solid.
  • Reggie Jackson would be the player of the game in my book. He controlled the offense and played good defense. He scored 16 points with a game- and career-high 11 assists. He found teammates early and kept looking for them throughout. He made his shots when the ball swung his way and didn’t force much of anything.
  • That’s now two straight double-doubles for Jackson, who clearly looks more confident after a string of stinkers. “I think I’ve been thinking too much,” Jackson admitted. “I kind of had a slump this season. So I’m just trying to get back to playing instinctively, being aggressive and taking what the defense gives me.”
  • Brooks on Jackson: “I thought tonight’s game was one of his better floor games. He really got the guys involved and got them good looks.”
  • Kevin Durant on Jackson: “He’s just playing free now. You can just tell that he’s not getting in his own way. He’s not thinking too much. He’s just going out there and playing and playing off instincts, and he’s doing a great job for us. I’m happy for him.”
  • Durant had an up and down game. He got off to a slow start but quickly got hot, and then struggled with a series of turnovers and misses. Still, he finished with 27 points, four rebounds and eight assists.
  • Caron Butler bounced back in a big way. After going 1-for-9 at Toronto, he had 23 points, the most he’s had in a Thunder uniform, and made 10 of 19 shots, including three of seven from downtown. Looked like he was feeling it tonight.
  • Steven Adams put in work down low. He scored 10 points with six rebounds and added the bizarre stat of the night, leading all players with six steals.
  • The first turnover tonight didn’t come until 4:17 was left in the first quarter. It was a bad pass by KD. It was the Thunder’s only giveaway in the first period. At halftime, the Thunder had just four turnovers. Big part of the win right there. The Thunder got up big in large part because it valued the ball and didn’t give Denver easy opportunities at the other end.
  • Just 10 fast break points for the Nuggets. Only three in the second half. Another huge key for OKC. The Thunder did a terrific job all night of getting back in transition. It helped, though, that the Thunder made 50.6 percent of its shots and got to set up instead of playing on its heels because of bad shots or too many misses.
  • The Thunder’s 41 points tied its most in any quarter this season.
  • The Thunder’s 72 first-half points were a season high for points in any half.
  • OKC had 10 assists on 15 made field goals in the first quarter and finished with 32 for the game. The team’s season high is 34.
  • Serge Ibaka established himself as a intimidating presence early, blocking shots at the rim and finishing many of those early passes with mid-range jumpers or dunks.
  • With Russell Westbrook sitting this one out (he’ll be back Tuesday at Dallas), Jeremy Lamb again got some minutes. But he struggled, missing his first seven shots before getting a breakaway layup with 1:21 remaining. All night, his teammates– especially Ibaka — were in his ear, trying to keep his spirits high. It’s clear that Lamb’s current situation is getting to his head. Gotta love how the Thunder is trying to pick him up and be with him through it.
  • That’s now four straight wins for the Thunder.
  • Up next: at Dallas on Tuesday.
by Darnell Mayberry
Assist Editor/ NBA Coordinator
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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