Passing: A. Thunder players were most proud of their passing. Three Boomers had at least five assists — Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Eric Maynor. Durant said the Thunder had a bunch of “hockey assists,” passes that lead to passes that lead to baskets.
Kendrick Perkins: B. After a rough night in Game 1, Perk was back in the saddle. Patrolling the paint and dominating the boards. Nugget big men Nene and Kenyon Martin made just four of 14 shots, and a bunch of hard fouls on Nene set a tone. Perkins had 11 rebounds and would have had 17 if Serge Ibaka hadn't kept outjumping for balls. But Perk missed an uncontested layup on a ball he should have dunked.
Aggression response: A. Early in the game, Perkins popped Nene for what was called a flagrant foul and Martin leveled Serge Ibaka with a blindside shoulder shove that drew a technical foul. Nene never found his rhythm of Game 1. Meanwhile, Ibaka shined, with 12 rebounds and 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting in just 23 minutes.
Celebrity sightings: B. Wes Welker, Desmond Mason, Ekpe Udoh and Roy Williams (OU safety, not the Texas flanker or Ty Lawson's college coach) were in attendance. Now, if we can get our country music stars in the building, OKC will be set.
Killer instinct: B. The Thunder got up 43-17, then kept allowing the Nuggets to believe they could rally. The Thunder lead never fell to single digits. But Perkins said, “You're supposed to step on their throat, go up 40 or 50.”
Bench spirit: A. Cole Aldrich dancing in his three-piece suit just before tipoff embodies the carefree nature of the Thunder. They're loose and loaded.
B Team: B. Scotty Brooks' junior varsity — five non-starters playing together — was spectacular early in the second quarter, turning a 31-15 lead into 43-17 blowout. But Denver rallied to within 43-24 before Brooks re-inserted Durant and Westbrook. And the B team was outscored 4-0 to start the fourth quarter before Brooks summoned Durant's return.
Athletic display: A. Thabo Sefolosha's whirling, driving layup midway through the first quarter keyed a 16-1 Thunder run. Then Westbrook's scrambling, twisting, don't-forget-the-ball driving scoop shop, starting from beyond midcourt and going through and around and over three Nuggets, thrilled the crowd.