The Pistons started the final period 0-for-9 from the field and made just seven of 27 shots in the quarter — the final one coming on a meaningless 3-pointer courtesy of guard Rodney Stuckey at the final buzzer.
“This one is all on Coach Brooks,” Durant said. “He made the perfect adjustments for us to win by switching every screen and putting the most athletic defenders out there…Coach won this one for us.”
Durant and Ibaka paired up to supply perfect paint protection. In that decisive fourth quarter, they combined for seven of the Thunder's season-high 12 blocked shots, with Durant registering all four of his rejections in the period.
Meanwhile, the Thunder went 18-for-18 from the free throw line in the fourth. First OKC used its free-throw precision to claw back into the game, as nine of the team's first 11 fourth-quarter points were scored at the stripe. Then the Thunder put the finishing touches on the Pistons, who fell to a franchise worst 0-8 start, by going 6-for-6 at the line in the final three minutes.
“We never quit,” Brooks said. “That's one of our trademarks I'm so proud of. We always play hard until the end. There's a lot of games that we don't play well, but there's very few were we don't play hard. And tonight there were so many set-up opportunities to say it wasn't our night; four (games) in five nights, in three different cities. But we didn't use those as excuses nor will we ever. I thought our guys just did a good job of staying with it and playing for 48 minutes.”