THUNDER 116
76ERS 109
4 Three pointers for the Thunder in overtime, one each by Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Martin and Thabo Sefolosha

5-for-6 Shooting numbers for Nick Collison, who finished with 14 points and five rebounds

8 Offensive rebounds tonight for Serge Ibaka, tying a career-high

8 -for-12 Shooting numbers for Serge Ibaka, en route to 18 points, increasing his season average to 15.1 per game

9 Assists for Russell Westbrook tonight, increasing his season average to 8.4 per game

22-11 Advantage the Thunder had in points off turnovers throughout the game

32-for-37 Combined free throw shooting numbers for the Thunder tonight

37 Points for Kevin Durant on the night, a season-high

GAME IN REVIEW


RECAP:
PHILADELPHIA -- Shots aren’t always going to fall, but the Thunder believes in one another’s ability to knock them down at all times.

Despite only shooting 2-for-16 from the three-point line during regulation, the Thunder knocked down 4-of-5 three-point buckets in the overtime period to come away from the second night of a road back-to-back with a 116-109 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. First Kevin Durant, then Russell Westbrook, then Kevin Martin and finally Thabo Sefolosha converted important three-pointers as Head Coach Scott Brooks’ club outscored the 76ers 18-11 in the extra five-minute period.

“It’s about trust,” Brooks said. “When they took those shots, we all believed that they were going to make that next shot. That’s good basketball, that’s a lot of good team-building, chemistry-building on those last four or five shots.”

In regulation, Westbrook was the conductor of the offensive train, pacing the Thunder early and often with breath-taking drives to the basket. Through three quarters Westbrook had 25 points and eight assists by getting into the lane and willing in layups or kicking to open teammates. The Thunder shot 49.2 percent in the first three quarters and it was thanks to the attacking Westbrook’s aggression.

“Russell was doing a great job of orchestrating the whole team,” Brooks said. “That’s what Russell has been doing all year. He’s really stepped up his game of making decisions at the basket, not only for himself but other teammates… When he takes it to the basket, he sucks in the defense and we have to have good spacing for his spot up shooters.”

Perhaps no two players on the roster have more different attributes and skill sets than Westbrook and Nick Collison, but the latter proved to be a perfect complement to Westbrook tonight. On multiple possessions throughout the night, Collison kept plays alive by tipping loose rebounds to himself or teammates, setting solid screens, hitting shots and getting offensive put-backs. In all, Collison finished with 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting while also snagging three of his five rebounds on the offensive end.

“He had nearly a perfect game,” Brooks said. “He took a charge, made his free throws, hit almost all of his shots. His defense is usually flawless, and tonight it was. He was doing a great job of keeping him out of the paint. But we needed every bit of his performance tonight.”

Collison’s style of play isn’t always the most notable or flashy, but tonight his decision-making, precision on his body movements and poise to convert free throws and open jumpers were crucial to the victory. In particular, he helped the Thunder score 20 second chance points, ten more than the 76ers did on the night. By positioning himself at the dunker spot, Collison helped make the Thunder’s drive-and-dish offense succeed.

“I was able to have an effect on the game tonight, so it was a good one for me,” Collison said. “On the offensive end we’re trying to play basketball. If we draw two (defenders), we’re trying to make plays. I think we’re always trying to get into the paint.”

While Collison’s offensive rebounding was impressive, he was topped by Serge Ibaka, who also made major contributions on both ends of the floor. In a reversal of a normal stat sheet, Ibaka reeled in a career-high-tying eight offensive rebounds to his one defensive rebound. Those extra possessions were crucial for the Thunder, particularly when Ibaka was the one who ended up taking the shot. Ibaka’s shot-making all season has been a major boost to the Thunder’s offense and that continued tonight as Ibaka upped his scoring average to 15.1 points per game with an 8-for-12 shooting, 18-point outburst.

“We got rebounds offensively,” Brooks said. “That was nice, we needed every bit of them, and Serge was huge. He scored and he got us put-backs and he was a factor on defense.”

Turning Point:
The Thunder and 76ers were tied with 4:14 remaining in overtime when the three-point barrage began. Kevin Durant set up his defender and rose up to knock down the first of four straight three-pointers for the Thunder. The second one came in transition after a defensive stop, when Kevin Martin calmly stepped into a three-pointer from the wing, his first made three-pointer of the night. Next, Russell Westbrook took a pass from Durant on a drive-and-dish and made a three, before Thabo Sefolosha hit the dagger three-pointer off a swing from Durant to put the Thunder up by eight points with 1:16 remaining.

Plays the box score won't show, first half:
Nice anticipation by Thabeet to jump out and block a shot, then Collison angles his body to avoid a charging foul. Collison continues to have a nose for the ball, tipping offensive rebounds and grabbing loose balls. Westbrook flies in across the lane to block a floater with two hands, leading to a fast break.

Plays the box score won't show, second half:
Thunder team defense does a great job of deflecting the ball and eventually causing a 24-second shot clock violation. Smart foul by Westbrook to prevent an easy layup, resulting in two missed free throws. Perfect play drawn up by Brooks, who got a cutting Durant to take a nice bounce pass from Westbrook for a layup and the foul. Incredible job by Durant to block a layup off of Jrue Holiday out of bounds to regain possession. Collison keeps two possessions alive with his offensive rebounding.



"We got timely shooting from our guys. We’d like to be able to keep those leads… We got enough stops at the end and then our guys made shots." – Nick Collison
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