Thunder Rumblings

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Nuggets from my notebook in the Thunder's win over Washington

by Darnell Mayberry Published: November 10, 2013
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Wonder how many of the fans that stormed up the aisle late in regulation are kicking themselves right now…

  • I would have bet good money at halftime that neither of these teams would have reached 100 points or 40 percent shooting by the final buzzer.
  • Up until the seven-minute mark of the third quarter, this game was a snoozer. Both teams struggled with fouls, turnovers and missed shots. A whole bunch of missed shots. At halftime, the Wizards were shooting 38 percent. The Thunder was shooting 32.5 percent.
  • In the second quarter, the Thunder went 3-for-18 from the field…and one of the buckets was a breakaway.
  • But the turning point came when Nene went after Russell Westbrook with 7:40 remaining in the third quarter. Nene and Wizards point guard John Wall sandwiched Westbrook at the rim and blocked his driving layup attempt into the crowd. Nene, acting as if he was retrieving the ball, then chest bumped Westbrook while talking trash. Double technicals were handed out and play resumed. But that altercation provided the first excitement to the game and seemed to wake up the players.
  • With eight minutes left, the Wizards led 83-71. With 3:29 to play in regulation, the Wizards led 92-82. OKC then closed the fourth on a 14-4 run, capped by Kevin Durant’s cold-blooded 3 from straight away with 13.6 seconds left in the period.
  • Durant on the game-tying bucket: “I just tried to read the play. He laid off me just a little bit, and I just need a little bit of space to get it off. If he would have pressed me, I would have tried to get to the rim for two. That was our plan, but I seen an opening and coach trusts me with that shot no matter what, make or miss. So I was fortunate enough to get that one to go in.”
  • Washington missed two chances to win it, not counting the blown 10-point lead in the final 3 1/2 minutes. But Bradley Beal, who was sensational, missed a runner at the buzzer in regulation, and John Wall, who wasn’t so sensational, missed badly on a reverse layup attempt at the overtime buzzer.
  • Beal had a career-high 34 points tonight, making 13 of 23 shots and six of eight 3-pointers. OKC threw Thabo Sefolosha at him, Durant at him and Perry Jones III at him. None of it worked, but I thought PJ3 actually did a really good job on him, using his length to contest shots and force difficult looks. “The kid is really, really good,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “He is a special player, there’s no question…He has a chance to be an All-Star in this league.”
  • Remember, it was the Wizards who turned down the James Harden for Bradley Beal deal, not the Thunder.
  • Jeremy Lamb hit a huge, huge 3-pointer with 1:37 left in regulation. It pulled the Thunder within 92-89. If Lamb doesn’t make that shot, I’m not sure OKC escapes with this win.
  • Just before Lamb’s 3, Brooks was barking at Reggie Jackson to push the ball up the court after he had grabbed a defensive rebound. Jackson instead went at his own pace. He then spotted Lamb streaking up the right side of the court and opened his eyes real wide as he shot him the ball. He nodded to the rim as he passed it up the court. Lamb stood all alone on the wing. After Lamb made it, Jackson looked back at Brooks and gave him a signal to calm down, like he knew what he was doing the whole way. It reminded me so much of Harden. He used to have the exact same back and forth with Brooks until it became clear that Harden did indeed have things under control.
  • Jackson: 12 points, 6-for-10 shooting, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and just two turnovers in 28 minutes…all on a bad back and a busted hip.
  • Jackson might have banged up his already battered body even more when he collided with Beal while chasing a loose ball with 35 seconds remaining in the third quarter. He began limping as soon as Beal recovered the ball. After the game, Jackson walked gingerly to the showers with his back heavily wrapped in all kinds of stuff. The poor guy is playing through a ton of discomfort.
  • Serge Ibaka: 25 points, 12 rebounds, three blocked shots. He had 16 and nine in the second half. Eight of those points came in the final seven minutes, 10 seconds, showing just how critical Ibaka was to this win. The Wizards didn’t have an answer for him on the offensive glass and, as a result, Ibaka put in work rebounding and getting pivotal putbacks.
  • Westbrook and Nene were ejected with 3:19 left in regulation when they were hit with their second double technical fouls after shoving each other following a Westbrook charge. Westbrook deflected all questions about both incidents. “Did we win?” he asked. “All right.”
  • No Nick Collison in this one. He sat with a left hip contusion.
  • The bench struggled mightily without Collison in the first half.
  • Steven Adams came back down to earth tonight. He had one point (0-for-3 shooting), two rebounds and two blocked shots in 20 minutes after going 17, 10 and 3 two nights earlier.
  • Adams had a nasty transition block on Trevor Ariza, though.
  • Adams was the first off the bench for the Thunder in both the first and third quarters.
  • The Thunder won its first jump ball of the season tonight. OKC is 1-5 on jump balls to start the game. Thank God. I can now stop counting.
  • Washington made 13 of 26 foul shots.
  • The Wizards made 12 of 29 3-pointers.
  • Star point guard matchups involving Westbrook strangely never amount to much. Either they’re embarrassingly lopsided, or they’re complete duds. Tonight’s with Wall was a complete dud. Early in the third quarter, both Westbrook and Wall had five points on 2-for-8 shooting.
  • Brooks rarely reveals much about his plans for rotations. But in his postgame comments tonight, he said he wants to keep Lamb at about 15 minutes. “His minutes, I think, are right at the level I like him at,” Brooks said. “Fifteen to 16 minutes. Tonight, he played 20. But those are minutes that he’s earned in practice.”
  • It was good to see the crowd give old friend Eric Maynor a nice ovation when he checked in.
  • Don’t forget about Durant’s block on Ariza with 44 seconds remaining in overtime. The Thunder trailed by one at that point, and Durant’s defense led to a runout and two free throws at the other end, putting OKC ahead 106-105.
  • Up next. At the Clippers on Wednesday.

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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