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Nuggets from my notebook from Sunday's win over the Celtics

by Darnell Mayberry Published: January 5, 2014

That’s more like it…

  • Reggie Jackson came out on fire. He scored the Thunder’s first 11 points and had it all working, his 3-pointer, his pull-up and his drives. He looked like a completely different player than the past few outings. Good sign.
  • Jackson scored a career-high 27 points on 9-for-12 shooting in 31 minutes. In his previous five games, he averaged 11.3 points on 36.5 percent shooting.
  • The best part of Jackson’s night in my eyes: free throw attempts. He got to the line nine times, a career high. He made six of them, which is uncharacteristic. But getting there more frequently is something the team really needs from him in the absence of Russell Westbrook.
  • Speaking of Westbrook. He addressed the media before the game. Here’s what he said about his third surgery in eight months. Most notable is his quote about timelines for recovery. “I don’t pay no attention to none of those projections, man,” he said. No way he’s sidelined through the All-Star break.
  • Back to Jackson. With just over three minutes remaining in the first half, Jackson had 16 points on 5-for-6 shooting. The other four starters had 15 points on 5-for-16 shooting.
  • Jackson: “I’ve been thinking too much lately, especially moving into the first unit…I feel like I’ve been out of character. So I’m just trying to get back to myself and be aggressive and let everything work out itself.”
  • Kendrick Perkins on Jackson: “I thought he played real relaxed. The last couple of games I thought he’s been a little tense. Today, he was Reggie. He just played his game. And that’s what he’s got to do, and we’ve got to keep encouraging him as a team and an organization just to be Reggie. We can’t make him be anything else that he’s not. He’s a score-first, attack point guard. So we need that out of him. We need him to be aggressive. So I think this was a good game for him.”
  • Scrappy bunch Boston is. And Brad Stevens is going to be a big-time coach in this league.
  • Serge Ibaka hit the glass early and often before finishing with a game-high 11 boards. He added 17 points, most of which came in stat-padding garbage time. No matter. It was his 15th double-double this season, which matches last year’s total.
  • Tonight was a good opportunity for Perry Jones III to play good minutes thanks to Boston’s small ball lineup. He played 21 minutes, scored six points with two rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot. I was most impressed with his two steals. Showed good court awareness on both and used his length to pick off cross-court pass attempts.
  • My hunch was wrong. Steven Adams played tonight, shaking off a right ankle sprain he sustained one night earlier at Minnesota. Tough cookie. I joked with him before the game about the reputation he’s already building as a tough guy. He stared back at me like it genuinely was no big deal, like he was confused why it would be.
  • Scott Brooks on Adams’ toughness: “He’s as tough as I’ve been around, any player. Every day, he just plays. The elbows, the pushes, nothing phases him. All he cares about is eating a lot of food and playing basketball.”
  • With that said, Adams played just five minutes. That probably had much more to do with the Celtics’ small ball as opposed to Adams’ injury.
  • Kelly Olynyk or Steven Adams?
  • The young guns on the Thunder will let long-distant prayers fly. No fear from those guys. Jackson. PJ3. Jeremy Lamb. They let it fly. And Lamb nearly made one.
  • Lamb was fantastic from the start, making shots and making plays. He finished with 13 points, three rebounds and six assists. And no turnovers despite running point down the stretch.
  • Perk on Lamb: “He made some plays today that I thought showed signs of greatness.”
  • More Perk on Lamb: “I think he’s going to be very special in this league.”
  • Kevin Durant on Lamb: “I love everything about Jeremy, what he brings to the table for our team. He can do it all. I mean, he’s athletic, he can shoot, he can dribble. But I like he’s intensity. I like his focus and his hard work. With all that, anything can be done on the court by him. So we just need him to keep getting better.”
  • Kevin Durant: 21 points, seven rebounds, eight assists, three steals, zero turnovers.
  • Also important: just 27 minutes for Durant, which is huge after playing the entire second half Saturday at Minnesota.
  • Perk scored a season-high 12 points tonight. He added six rebounds.
  • Old friend Jeff Green grabbed one rebound in 34 minutes. Sound familiar?
  • Green did get a nice, warm welcome when he was introduced in the Celtics starting lineup.
  • Is it me or has Thabo Sefolosha seemed to have lost confidence in his jump shot? He took five 3-pointers tonight, but he pump faked a ton and seemed rather reluctant to let them fly.
  • Not sure what Brad Stevens was trying to accomplish late in the game. Hasheem Thabeet had reported to the scorer’s table to check in and Stevens still had four starters on the court.
  • The Thunder has now won 15 games by 10 points or more. OKC has lost only one game by 10 or more. This was the sixth win by at least 20 points.
  • Thunder is now 10-1 when at least five players score in double digits.
  • Up next: at Utah on Tuesday.
by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
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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