Notebook: Thunder 104, Pacers 93



Posted Dec 9, 2012 10:52 PM

By Randy Renner, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Oklahoma City Thunder may be the highest scoring team in the NBA, but it was defensive pressure in the second half that sent them to their eighth straight win, 104-93 over the Indiana Pacers Sunday.

After allowing 56 points in the first half, the Thunder (16-4) held Indiana to just 37 in the second half.

Kevin Durant led all scorers with 27 points, he also pulled down eight rebounds and handed out four assists. Durant finished just 9-for-24, but he was 4-for-6 (10 points) in the decisive fourth quarter. Kevin Martin came off the bench for 24 points and Russell Westbrook added 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

The Pacers (10-10) had all five starters in double figures and were led by David West's 21 points, West also had nine rebounds. Paul George added 17 and eight boards but was just 5-for-15 from the field. George Hill dropped in 15 points on 5-for-14 shooting.

The Pacers came in leading the NBA in opponent field goal percentage (40.9) but Oklahoma City hit 48.7 percent. Similarly, the Pacers led the league in rebounding, averaging 47 per game but were held to just 34 by OKC while the Thunder pulled down 40.

QUOTABLE: "I thought we came out flat in the first quarter, but our second unit helped us out and then we really got after it on defense in the second half. We made them take tough shots in the third and fourth quarters and made them miss. We did a really good job of not forcing anything on offense. We were really patient."

--Thunder coach Scott Brooks

THE STAT: After shooting 60 percent in the first half, the Pacers could manage just 33.3 percent in the second half. In the last 5:30 of the game, Indiana scored just two points (both free throws) on 0-for-7 shooting.

TURNING POINT: Indiana cut a 10-point Thunder lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter down to just three (94-91) with 5:26 to play. After a couple of quick baskets by OKC put the Thunder up by seven, Indiana's Roy Hibbert went up for what appeared to be a certain lay-in. But Westbrook blocked the shot and then hit a 14-foot pull-up jumper on the other end to put his team up by nine and ice the game.

QUOTABLE II: "Plays like that can change the whole momentum of the game, and that was one of those plays."

-- Russell Westbrook on his block of Hibbert

HOT: Martin was 4-for-4 (13 points) in less than five minutes of playing time in the first quarter. The Pacers shot 60.0 percent (24-for-40) in the first half and scored 56 points. In the fourth quarter, the Thunder shot 52.9 percent. Durant (4-for-6) and Westbrook (3-for-5) combined to score 16 points in the fourth quarter. Serge Ibaka was 5-for-7 in the second half.

NOT: OKC started the game 5-for-13 (38.5 percent). George was 2-for-9 in the second half.

GOOD MOVE: Before the game, Pacers coach Frank Vogel said he liked the defensive matchups with George against Durant and Hill guarding Westbrook. In the early going, the Pacers' duo had the best of the Thunder duo holding Westbrook to 1-for-6 shooting and Durant to 2-for-8. By halftime, Durant was just 3-for-11 and Westbrook was 2-for-8.

QUOTABLE III: "I like how we guarded [Westbrook and Durant]. I think George Hill and Paul George are two of the best defenders in the league at their positions, and they did a really solid job on Westbrook and Durant. At halftime they were doing a great job."

-- Frank Vogel

BAD MOVE: That stout defense on Durant and Westbrook, who were 5-for-19 combined shooting (26.3 percent) in the first half, apparently cost the Pacers everywhere else. The rest of the OKC lineup was a combined 13-for-18 (72.2 percent) in the first half.

NOTABLE: The Thunder have now won eight straight games, the team's longest winning streak since nine straight between Jan. 29, 2010-Feb. 21, 2010. ... OKC has also now scored at least 100 points in 12 straight games the longest such streak since 1995.

UP NEXT: For the Pacers, Wednesday vs. Cleveland, Friday vs. Philadelphia, Saturday @ Detroit. For the Thunder, Wednesday vs. New Orleans, Friday vs. Sacramento, Monday vs. San Antonio.