6 Thunder players who scored in double figures on the night
9-for-13 Shooting numbers for Serge Ibaka, who recorded his second consecutive 20-plus point game
13 Steals by the Thunder, including four for Kevin Durant and three each for Derek Fisher and Thabo Sefolosha
20-6 The Thunder’s advantage in second chance points thanks to 17 offensive rebounds
23 Assists by the Thunder, led by Kevin Durant’s nine
30 Points for Kevin Durant on 10-for-15 shooting to go with six rebounds
34 Points scored by the Thunder off of 21 Kings turnovers
Jan. 19th, 2013
As the Thunder’s leader, Kevin Durant says that his job can change from night-to-night based on what his team needs from him. Every night his defense is important, but some nights, it’s scoring or rebounding. On Sunday in a 108-93 win over the Sacramento Kings, it was distributing the ball and helping all of his teammates get involved.
Durant had a game-high nine of his team’s 23 assists on the night as Head Coach Scott Brooks saw six of his players score in double figures. By simply staying aggressive and attacking based on what the defense was giving him, Durant made play after play as he not only got teammates like Serge Ibaka going, but also found space to score on his own.
“My teammates set screens for me and we saw something in the pick-and-roll,” Durant said. “Serge is doing a great job of slipping out of it and knocking down shots. I just try to be aggressive and put pressure on the rim and their defense. If they draw in, I kick it out, if not I try to lay the ball up or take a good shot.”
Thanks to a 13-point first quarter, Durant finished the game with 30 points on 10-for-15 shooting, but also played an outstanding all-around game by racking up six rebounds, four steals and two blocks while holding Rudy Gay to just six points in the Kings’ forward’s 27 minutes.
Durant’s defense was just a part of the overall Thunder effort that shook off a challenging first quarter to hold the Kings to 22-or-fewer points in each of the final three periods. Brooks’ club held Sacramento to 42.9 percent shooting, but also converted 21 Kings turnovers into a whopping 34 points. Using its length, athleticism and quickness, the Thunder quickly turned defense into offense.
“We talked about being defensive minded with our hands and our feet,” Brooks said. “Our activity was really good. We want to turn teams over because we’re one of the best in the league when we get turnovers and try to convert right after that turnover with our athleticism on the wings.”
“We were using our hands and being physical,” Durant said. “We had the last three quarters under 23 points. That’s the formula for us if we want to win the basketball game. Everybody contributed on the defensive end, our pressure was good and we closed the paint up.”
The Thunder outscored the Kings by ten in the third quarter, when Durant did a good deal of his damage, racking up 11 points and dishing out five assists while playing all 12 minutes of the period. Reggie Jackson, Thabo Sefolosha, Nick Collison and Jeremy Lamb all joined Durant in double figures in scoring, but it was the play of Serge Ibaka that gave the Thunder an extra dynamic that the Kings couldn’t contain.
Mostly out of the pick-and-roll and in transition, Ibaka found his spots on the floor to take his vaunted mid-range jump shot, knocking down 9-of-13 attempts en route to 20 points, his third such game of 20-or-more in a row. Durant and Jackson oversaw much of the playmaking on the night, and Ibaka’s point guard had glowing remarks about his big man after the game.
“His shot is really starting to fall for him in that mid-range where he’s so deadly,” Jackson said. Then he’s getting out in transition to get some easy baskets.”
“Most importantly he’s just doing the little things,” Jackson continued. “He’s setting screens and getting into the open gap to get his shot off and then he’s also offensive rebounding with put backs and getting to the free throw line to make it easier on himself.”
This game turned in the third quarter, when the Thunder’s defense clamped down and the offense opened up. With the game tied at 60 with 9:08 remaining in the period, Kevin Durant started things off with a step-back jumper, then Durant drove and dished to Reggie Jackson for a jumper. Two Jackson free throws later, the Thunder led 66-60 and then Serge Ibaka hit a jumper off of a Durant pass.
On the next possession Thabo Sefolosha cleaned up a miss at the rim for a layup, then Jackson found Ibaka for a jumper. After a Kendrick Perkins steal, Durant found Jackson for a three, then after forcing Demarcus Cousins into a turnover, Jackson nailed two foul shots to make it 77-64 Thunder with 3:40 remaining in the quarter. The Thunder forced five missed shots and three turnovers during the 17-4 burst.
PLAYS THE BOX SCORE DOESN'T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
Thabo Sefolosha jumps the passing lane to deflect a pass, leading to a Thunder fast break opportunity. Kendrick Perkins sets a strong screen in the secondary break to free up Kevin Durant for a three-pointer. Durant anticipates a lob pass and intercepts it then follows it up by tossing an alley-oop on the other end. Steven Adams dives on the floor for a loose ball and smartly calls a timeout. Derek Fisher fights through a moving screen, drawing a Kings player into an offensive foul.
PLAYS THE BOX SCORE DOESN'T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Reggie Jackson hustles to an offensive rebound, fighting for it long enough to get a Kings player to knock it out of bounds. Jackson sets a great screen for Durant to free him up in the lane, then Durant repays him with a nice pass. Ibaka flies over in help defense to force a shot attempt to go too high and miss. Perfect post defense by Perkins forces DeMarcus Cousins into a travel. Beautiful drop off pocket pass by Durant to Collison for an easy layup.
“When we move the ball like that and everybody is touching it and feeling good, it helps our defense as well.” - forward Kevin Durant