Regular Season Game #8
The Oklahoma City Thunder's four-game winning streak already includes a win over the Detroit Pistons.
There's every indication that it's about to be extended with another meeting.
The Thunder look to beat the winless Pistons for an eighth straight time and send them to the worst start in franchise history Monday night.
Oklahoma City (5-2) has hardly been tested during its four-game run, winning by an average of 13.0 points while shooting 51.2 percent from the floor.
The streak includes Friday's 105-94 victory over the visiting Pistons (0-7), their seventh consecutive win in the series. Only two of those contests, however, were in Detroit with the latest on Oct. 29, 2010.
One of two remaining winless teams in the NBA, Detroit is staring at a team record for the worst start to a season. Detroit has opened with seven straight losses for the third time, doing so previously in 1962-63 and again in 1980-81. This season's skid reached seven when it followed its most recent loss to the Thunder with Saturday's 96-82 defeat at Houston.
The Pistons' futile efforts included missing their first 10 shots of the fourth quarter before Brandon Knight hit a jumper with 6 minutes to go.
"There was no offensive energy out there at all," coach Lawrence Frank said. "We didn't even give ourselves a chance during that run. I don't make excuses why because I know we're capable of doing more.
"Your resolve is tested everyday regardless of what your record is."
The frustration is reaching beyond Frank.
"The way we are playing right now is unacceptable," said veteran Tayshaun Prince, who had 13 points and six rebounds against the Rockets. "Guys should be upset right now."
That's certainly not the case with the Thunder, who continued their surge with Sunday's 106-91 victory over Cleveland behind 27 points and 10 assists from Russell Westbrook.
It was a welcome performance by Westbrook, who averaged 14.8 points and 8.8 assists in his previous four games. He was limited to a season-low 10 and six against Detroit.
Continuing his increased scoring may mean more production from beyond the arc, where Westbrook is a career 29.2-percent shooter. The All-Star guard made a season-high 4 of 6 3-pointers Sunday after going 6 for 24 in the first six games.
"He's worked on it. He's going to continue to work on it," coach Scott Brooks said.
Kevin Durant continued his consistent play with a season-high 26 points Sunday. He has scored between 22 and 26 points in six of his seven games, with the lone exception a 15-point outing against Toronto on Nov. 6. Durant had 25 points and 13 rebounds against the Pistons.
Serge Ibaka matched Durant with a career-high 25 points Friday and scored 14 with seven blocks to match the league season high against the Cavaliers.
Also contributing is Kevin Martin, who has scored 16 points in each of the last two games. Martin, in the role of top reserve previously held by James Harden, ranks third on the Thunder with 17.7 points per game on 50.7 percent shooting, including 17 of 32 from 3-point range.