Kevin Durant's 46 points will rightly capture the headlines.
But in Oklahoma City's Tuesday night 105-97 win over the Blazers, it was the Thunder's protective offensive nature that may have made as much a difference.
Coming in, OKC averaged 15.4 turnovers per game, fourth most in the NBA. Against Portland, the Thunder had a season-low seven turnovers.
“Seven turnovers, sometimes that's usually a quarter for us,” Scott Brooks joked. “I thought our guys were great with the ball.”
And that particularly goes for Reggie Jackson, who had five assists and only one turnover.
“We gave ourselves a chance to score every time down,” Brooks said. “And that's what you want.”
ROBERSON HAPPY ABOUT D-LEAGUE EXPERIENCE
Although the Thunder hasn't used its D-League affiliate like in the past, it has shuffled rookie forward Andre Roberson back-and-forth as of late.
And Roberson seems to think the added work is paying off.
“It's good,” Roberson said. “It gives me an opportunity to go down there and get better, just work on the things that I've been working on up here as far as my development with my coaches.”
THUNDER FACES STACKED SCHEDULE
Tuesday night's showdown with Portland was only the start of a stacked schedule for the Thunder to end January.
In the month's last 11 days, OKC plays seven games, starting with the Spurs on Wednesday night, continuing with a back-to-back in Philadelphia and Boston this weekend and concluding with a road trip to Miami and Brooklyn.
But despite the strenuous slate, Brooks doesn't seemed worried about playing for his feature players.
“Our staff does a good job monitoring our guys' minutes, other than the game,” Brooks said. “Practice minutes, shootaround minutes, pregame minutes.”
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Durant has a career-long streak of eight straight 30-plus point games. The next longest this season in the NBA is four.
From here, the Thunder takes an overnight flight down to San Antonio for the second half of a tricky back-to-back. OKC is 2-0 against the Spurs this season, but both games came with Russell Westbrook. With a win, the Thunder would vault into first in the Western Conference.