THUNDER 120
NETS 95
6 Players who scored in double figures for the Thunder, including Thabo Sefolosha, who had a sesason-high-tying 14

7 Assists for Reggie Jackson, in addition to 14 points

11-0 The Thunder’s advantage in second chance points on the night, holding the Nets to just three offensive rebounds

12-for-12 Shooting numbers for Serge Ibaka, the most made shots for a player in Thunder history without a miss, who finished with 25 points and nine rebounds

26 Points for Kevin Durant on 10-for-12 shooting, in addition to seven assists and three rebounds

41-17 Rebounding advantage for the Thunder, as it held the Nets to the fewest rebounds in NBA history

58-30 The Thunder’s advantage in points in the paint, where it shot 29-for-37

63.6 Shooting percentage for the Thunder, the best in franchise history

GAME IN REVIEW

mailbag@thunder-nba.com
Jan. 31st, 2014
RECAP:

BROOKLYN – The Thunder landed a haymaker in the first quarter and didn’t relent for a moment the rest of the way.

In a 120-95 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night, the Thunder used a 13-0 run to end the first quarter to take a double-digit lead, which never dipped below 22 points in the second half. With stout defense that held the Nets to just 35 points on 34.2 percent shooting in the first half, Head Coach Scott Brooks’ club put the clamps on a Brooklyn team that was on a hot streak. The way the Thunder both forced turnovers and missed shots led to one shot at the most for the Nets on each trip down floor, which usually resulted in a miss and then an opportunity for the Thunder to get into its offense with pace.

“The defense to start the game was really good,” Brooks said. “We played aggressive and didn’t give them a lot of open looks. We were getting our hands on the basketball and moving our bodies.”

On the other end of the floor, the Thunder seemingly had an answer for the type of defense Brooklyn put out there, a scheme that double-teamed forward Kevin Durant as soon as, and sometimes even before he touched the ball. An expert playmaker and decision-maker, Durant simply moved the ball quickly to an open teammate when the second defender came over, allowing for the Thunder to play four-on-three on the back side.

With playmakers like Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb or shooters like Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha waiting, for the pass, the Thunder got clean looks at the rim nearly every trip down floor, resulting in a Thunder record 63.6 percent shooting night.

“We knew what they were going to do in terms of doubling on the catch,” Durant explained. “We were moving the ball quickly and guys were knocking down shots. We got confidence early on from our defense and offensively, we moved the ball and found the open shot so we made some good progress.”

“At this level, everybody for the most part can make plays,” Jackson said. “Someone is always open. It’s going to be a good look for the most part, and it’s just up to everybody else to knock them down and figure out things offensively.”

Durant led the way with 26 points on 10-for-12 shooting, with his streak of consecutive games with 30-or-more points ended because he didn’t have to play the fourth quarter. The Thunder’s leader also had seven of his team’s 28 assists, however, many of which went to Serge Ibaka, who made a Thunder record 12 shots without a miss en route to 25 points, along with nine rebounds.

Ibaka was one of six players who scored in double figures for the Thunder, as Jackson dished out seven assists and Thabo Sefolosha, who tied a season-high with 14 points, also handed out four assists. By spacing the floor correctly, moving the ball and making the correct decisions based on what the defense showed them, the Thunder made sure everyone got involved in the offense.

“That’s how you win games, just playing the right way on both ends,” Durant said. “We just wanted to come in here and get better from when we played them last night and get the ‘W’.”

“We’re trying to build habits here and trying to keep getting better every single day,” Durant continued. “The only way we’re going to get better is if we continue to play the right way.”

To round out a game where the Thunder played at a high level in nearly every phase, Brooks’ club also dominated the glass. Thanks to eight rebounds from Kendrick Perkins, six from Nick Collison and five from Perry Jones, the Thunder out-rebounded Brooklyn by an incredible margin of 41-17. The Nets total was the lowest in NBA history, and included just three offensive rebounds. One of the best rebounding teams in the league throughout the season, the Thunder stayed in its defensive shell and had men in position to box out and grab misses nearly every single time.

“We just came out aggressive,” Perkins said. “We made shots early and they missed shots. We just did a great job overall of controlling the glass as a whole. We’ve been doing that all season, but we made a conscious effort to get on the offensive glass too.”

TURNING POINT:

The Thunder’s lead was just one point at 17-16 with 4:57 remaining in the first quarter, but a huge burst to end the period created a margin that Brooklyn never responded from. The run started with the Thunder assisting on four straight buckets – a Kevin Durant layup, a Serge Ibaka jumper, an Ibaka layup and then another Ibaka jumper. Durant then hit a jumper and a free throw after Perry Jones blocked a shot. Derek Fisher then found Ibaka for a dunk to cap the 13-0 run, giving the Thunder a 30-16 advantage at the end of the quarter.

Two Perry Jones free throws to start the second quarter made it a 15-0 run in all for the Thunder. During the run, the Thunder’s defense forced four turnovers and six missed shots.

PLAYS THE BOX SCORE DOESN'T SHOW, FIRST HALF:

Kevin Durant’s defense and length forces his man into a difficult shot in the corner that glances off the side of the backboard. Serge Ibaka hustles in the halfcourt to get back to the rim and block what would have been a sure dunk. Perry Jones grabs a defensive rebound and outlets it to Durant before he even landed on the ground, starting a fast break. Strong box out from Perry Jones to let a teammate swoop in for the defensive rebound. Jones makes an outstanding recovery when defending on the ball to get back to his man and make a block. Kendrick Perkins’ interior defense impacts multiple shots in a row, forcing a shot clock violation.

PLAYS THE BOX SCORE DOESN'T SHOW, SECOND HALF:

Thabo Sefolosha jumps the passing lane to slap away a pass on the perimeter and disrupt a possession. Incredible ball movement as Durant sends it up court to Sefolosha on a long outlet pass, who zips it to Ibaka for a layup. Sefolosha hustles back in transition to deflect an outlet pass and prevent a fast break. Nick Collison patiently waits to make the entry pass into Perry Jones, allowing time for the defense to clear out. Collison pressures his man in the corner and forces him to throw a bad pass that ends up in a Thunder steal.



“We kept reminding ourselves that it was a mental focus-type game. Guys kept reminding themselves not to get too relaxed and to keep pushing.” – center Kendrick Perkins

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