Thunder appears playoff ready

But the postseason remains a long way away — 124 days to be exact
by Jenni Carlson Published: December 17, 2012


photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) reacts after hitting a 3-point shot during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs in Oklahoma City Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) reacts after hitting a 3-point shot during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs in Oklahoma City Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

All that Serge did that night was go 11 for 11.

He didn't have as good a shooting night Monday, but he had a better performance. He scored 25 points and grabbed 17 rebounds.

Maybe Stephen Jackson will spell his name right next time.

Then, there was Kevin Martin. A year after super sub James Harden gave the Spurs fits, the Thunder's new first man off the bench had a big night.

He scored 20 points on 7 of 10 shooting.

The Thunder seemed to do everything better than the Spurs. It got more rebounds, 49 to 37. It forced more turnovers, 16 to 12. It blocked more shots, seven to four.

It played with more intensity, too.

Late in the third quarter, Spurs point guard Tony Parker made one of his signature drives through the lane, dodging defenders and seemingly defying physics. He got to the rim and looked to have an easy basket.

Out of nowhere, Kevin Durant swooped in and swatted his shot.

Russell Westbrook grabbed the board, pushed the ball quickly down court and kicked to a wide open Thabo Sefolosha.

Miss.

But Collison battled Tim Duncan for the ball, batting it into the air a couple of times until he could secure it and put it back in for a basket.

The Peake erupted when he did.

“We always have to make an extra push against these guys,” Durant said. “You have to be on point with every play because they expose all of your mistakes.

“I think we did a good job of just playing hard and playing together.”

No doubt about that.

Of course, a December win does not a playoff series win. This game will mean nothing if these two teams meet in the playoffs.

But on Monday night with The Peake rocking and the Thunder humming and the Spurs visiting, it was fun to imagine these teams could meet again in the playoffs.

Too bad the playoffs don't even start until April 20.

It's going to be a long four months and two days.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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