Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC's new Big 3 take charge as Thunder routs Portland
Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Kevin Martin combine for 74 points in Thunder's home opener.
There's a new Big Three in town.
Get used to it.
Whether it's as good as the one you grew to love matters little at this point. All that matters now is the new version is proving to be just as effective.
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Nov 2Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Kevin Martin combine...
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Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Kevin Martin took charge in the Thunder's 106-92 win over Portland on Friday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena, combining for 74 points and showing that, yes, life does go own without James Harden.
And while the revamped trio has its differences, these first two games have shown that it still is just as dynamic.
Westbrook beat up the Blazers with the same blistering speed we've long been accustomed to. Durant scored effortlessly and with the same ease as he has the past three seasons. Martin, meanwhile, showed for the second straight night that he can supply the sharpshooting that is sorely needed from this team's new sixth man.
Suddenly, while the basketball world continues to focus on what the Thunder lost, what is materializing at a mesmerizing pace is a more diverse attack that has been gained.
“It's going to take time,” said Westbrook, who scored a game-high 32 points with five rebounds, six assists and only one turnover. “But we're getting better. We're learning each other's spots. We're trying to get Kevin (Martin) the ball where he likes the ball, and I already know where Kevin (Durant) likes the ball. It's just a learning process. But we're going to get it right.”
Not to take anything away from Harden, but he was overkill on a star-studded roster that already featured two players that worked best with the ball in their hands. Harden never was going to get the touches he required to truly dominate like he's already showing he's capable of in Houston. In Martin, though, the Thunder now has a threat that is lethal working without the basketball, a player who maximizes possessions despite fewer being designed to run through him.
Against the Blazers, Martin came off the bench and scored 19 points on 5-for-11 shooting. He made all three of his 3-point attempts and, not unlike Harden, used his jerky-style to earn six foul shots, all makes.
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