After scoring 15 points in 33 minutes Thursday night against San Antonio, Martin played four fewer minutes against the Blazers. But he looked twice as comfortable as he did just one night earlier, a sign that the chemistry between this reworked roster is coming together.
Brooks, in the aftermath of the trade that some feel might torpedo the Thunder's championship chances this season, has become a bit of a defender of his team's chemistry.
“James was a good player, don't get me wrong,” Brooks said. “But he wasn't Dr. James. He wasn't helping the group stick together. All the guys did.”
This new unit's increasing chemistry was really on display in the fourth quarter, when the Thunder led by just five with 71/2 minutes remaining. After Durant put back a layup to push the lead to seven, he led a fast break and found Martin alone in the left corner for a 3. Following a Wes Matthews dunk, Durant again dished to Martin, who finished this time with a baseline runner to push the lead back to 10.
Portland's deficit soon swelled to 14 after The Big Three combined for 21 of the Thunder's 32 fourth-quarter points.
“Everybody was playing together,” said Durant (23 points, 17 rebounds, seven assists). “Once we move the ball like that, it's tough to stop us. It's so many options.”
They're just different.
“Hopefully, it can lead to good things,” said Westbrook. “We're going to take it one day at a time and try to get better and try to work together.”