THE FACTS: So much for the much improved Charlotte Bobcats (7-6). The Oklahoma City Thunder (11-4) started like a house a fire and just kept burning, leading by 16 after one quarter, by 40 after two and by as many as 54 in crushing the 'Cats 114-69, the biggest blowout for the Thunder franchise since moving to Oklahoma City.
OKC's starters left the game for good just five minutes into the third quarter. Kevin Durant finished with 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting (only the second time this season he's finished with less than 22), Thabo Sefolosha added 14 (four 3-pointers) for his best scoring night of the season and Russell Westbrook had a double-double with 12 points and 11 assists. Thunder backup center Hasheem Thabeet had his first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bobcats managed to get just one player in double figures and rookie guard Jeff Taylor just barely made it with 10 points. Kemba Walker came in averaging 18 points to lead Charlotte but he finished with zero points on 0-for-6 shooting and wasn't a factor. Three Bobcats, forward Byron Mullens and backup guards Ben Gordon and Reggie Williams added nine.
The Thunder held Charlotte to just 29.1 percent shooting for the game (a season low for a Thunder opponent) and doubled them up 44-22 in the paint.
QUOTABLE: "That was one of our best games, offensively, defensively, our guys were passing the ball (31 assists) and we were finding all kinds of guys open and they just had a bad night." -- Thunder head coach Scott Brooks.
QUOTABLE II: "Overreacting in the NBA is a bad way to go about your business. So certainly we will address the major things here tonight, we will practice tomorrow like we normally would and we will forge ahead. But there hasn't been any kind of damage control to be done on this game. We know that OKC is a test for us and we failed miserably but there are better days ahead." -- Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap.
THE STAT: At halftime Oklahoma City had as many points in the paint (24) as Charlotte had points from anywhere.
TURNING POINT: It was pretty much adios and good night when Sefolosha hit his second straight 3-ball to put the Thunder up 12-8 in the first quarter. That four point lead grew to 16 by the end of the quarter and 40 by the end of the half.
QUOTABLE III: "We really respect the Bobcats. They came in here with a good record and have beaten some really good teams so we wanted to focus in on those guys and take away what they do. We did a good job of executing our game plan." -- Durant.
HOT: The Thunder blistered the nets in the first half shooting 59.5 percent (22-for-37) and finished at 51.3 percent. Oklahoma City, the NBA's best free throw shooting team coming in (84.5 percent), was even better tonight hitting 91.3 percent (21-for-23) at the line.
NOT: Charlotte started the game just 2-for-7 (28.6 percent) and finished the first quarter with just 12 points (the fewest scored by the Bobcats in any quarter this season and the fewest allowed by OKC in any quarter) and shooting 29.4 percent (5-for-17)...By halftime the Bobcats managed 12 more points to get to 24...shooting just 21.6 percent (8-for-37)...Charlotte finished at 29.1 percent (23-for-79) by far the worst of the season. The Bobcats 69 points and 23 made field goals were also season lows.
INSIDE THE ARENA: Not much energy inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. Don't know if it was the opponent (Charlotte isn't exactly a big OKC rival) or too much turkey leftovers or maybe just too big of a lead but most fans seemed to be dozing in their seats as if they were at home in their easy chairs. But at least they were in the arena, as the Thunder recorded their 76th straight sellout.
GOOD MOVE: Brooks took his starters out earlier than any other time this season to ease up on the carnage and give his backups and down the bench guys some good minutes.
BAD MOVE: After talking about defensive intensity before the game started the Bobcats had none of that after the game started, allowing the Thunder to shoot up near 60 percent for the first 16 minutes of the game. By that time OKC was up 40-15 and by halftime the score had ballooned to 64-24 and OKC was shooting 59.5 percent.
NOTABLE: The 45-point margin of victory is the largest in the Oklahoma City era (41 @ LAC in 2009)...The 69 total points allowed is also an Oklahoma City era record. The 24 points scored by Charlotte in the first half were the fewest allowed by the Thunder franchise since moving to Oklahoma City and the second lowest in franchise history (the SuperSonics allowed a 20 point half on January 4th, 1975. The 40-point Thunder halftime lead is the largest in the OKC era and second largest in franchise history, it's also the first time an NBA team led by 40 or more since November 2nd, 1991 (GS led SAC 88-41).
UP NEXT: For the Bobcats: Wednesday @ Atlanta, Friday vs. Philadelphia, Monday vs. Portland. For the Thunder: Wednesday vs. Houston, Friday vs. Utah, Saturday @ New Orleans.