Reggie Jackson dribbled the ball in the backcourt as the final seconds of Sunday's game ticked down, and even as the shot clock neared zero, his feet stayed planted to The Peake's hardwood.
The Thunder took a turnover on a shot-clock violation.
Didn't want to pile on too much.
Thunder 118, Pacers 94.
A game that was supposed to be a thriller was a blowout instead. An early season matchup that has a shot of being be an NBA Finals preview was all boys in blue.
Who saw this coming?
“It's a good win,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks acknowledged.
Brooks was quick to point out that Sunday was Indiana's fifth game on a five-game western swing, and it was the second night of a back-to-back. The first of those two games was an energy-sapping, big-time win at San Antonio.
So, these Pacers came to town with their tanks a little closer to E than F.
Still, they had lost only two games this season. This is a stout squad.
And the Thunder won going away.
If the Pacers can do what some folks think they can do and beat the Heat in the playoffs, this has to be a Finals pairing that the Thunder would like.
This is a good matchup for the Thunder.
For starters, the Thunder has defensive answers for the Pacers, starting with Thabo Sefolosha on Paul George and Kendrick Perkins on Roy Hibbert. Those two Pacers are key for Indiana's offense, and Sunday night, Sefolosha and Perkins showed that they can hang with them.
On the Pacers' first shot of the game, Hibbert clanked a 15-foot turnaround, and Perk made it a tough look with a hand up.
On the Pacers' next shot, George missed a 17-foot step-back jumper, and Sefolosha was in the neighborhood hounding.
That was a sign of things to come as George and Hibbert ended the first quarter a combined 5 of 11. Not bad, but definitely not the hot start that either of them is capable of getting off to.
What's more, the Pacers fell behind by double digits in that first quarter and never recovered.
“I thought Thabo and Perk really did a good job of setting the tone defensively in the first quarter,” Brooks said. “I thought we got into them early. That was important.”
Pacers coach Frank Vogel said, “They had great energy defensively, and they took us out of a lot of our stuff.”
George finished the game 9 of 17 with 32 points, but he scored 18 of those points in the third quarter largely against the second unit when the Thunder had hit the cruise-control button. He made some moves that drew oohs and aahs from The Peake crowd, but he was largely a non-factor.
Ditto for Hibbert, who had 12 points, nine rebounds and no blocks.
Meanwhile, the Pacers had no answer for the Thunder's big three.
Kevin Durant scored 36 points and basically got whatever shot he wanted. The ease with which he scored that many points was almost scary.
Russell Westbrook was a defensive pest and an offensive enabler, finishing with 26 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds.
And Serge Ibaka hit one silky smooth jumper from the top of the key after another.
Against the team that statistically has the best defense in the league, the Thunder shot a whopping 61 percent from the floor.
“If we play like that, there's not too many teams that can beat us but ourselves,” Westbrook said. “Tonight was one of those nights that we did a good job playing our game and doing what we do best, which is defend and try to get easy transition points.”
Now, all things being equal, there's no way the Thunder is 20-plus points better than the Pacers, but Sunday showed that OKC is clearly better.
So, if the Pacers would finish a long season on the other side of the Finals matchup, the Thunder has to like that. Has to like it a lot.
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.