Game Recap: Thunder 99, Bobcats 82

News and notes following the Thunder’s 99-82 win over the Charlotte Bobcats:

  • The winning streak hits a season-high six games and the Thunder continue its domination of Eastern Conference teams running its record to 22-6 overall and 11-2 at home against the East. The team is now 9-1 to start March.
  • Kevin Durant finished with 25 points but was taken to the locker room with 1:40 to play after being struck on his left shoulder. Durant’s injury is not believed to be serious. “I ran into one of the other players pretty hard and banged my shoulder a little bit,” he said, “It was a quick stinger. I could have stayed in the game but I just wanted to be cautious about it. I’ll be alright by tomorrow.”
  • Defense continues to be the name of the game for the Thunder. For the fourth straight game opponents failed to score at least 90 points. Oklahoma City held Charlotte to just three points in the last six minutes of the game on 1-for-7 shooting. The Bobcats were forced into four turnovers during that same time. “Our defense was solid the whole game,” said Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks, “and we even picked it up more in the fourth quarter.”
  • Both teams started the game as if in quicksand, the Thunder picked things up about four minutes into the game when Serge Ibaka picked up his first block. Ibaka finished the quarter with three rejections and four rebounds. Kendrick Perkins also grabbed four rebounds in the quarter. “Our offense was out of sync to start the game,” Brooks said, “we were a step or two slow but the defense got us going and it was a good win for us, especially on our home floor.”
  • In the second quarter the Bobcats outscored the Thunder 25-19 to get within two points at 45-43. At the break Oklahoma City was shooting 54.5% on all shots and 50% (4-for-8) on 3-pointers. Thunder players got to the line only 10 times in the half and hit only half of those. Charlotte was held to 45% on all shots in the half and 0-for-6 on 3-pointers. The Bobcats also got to the line only 10 times in the half and hit seven.
  • Only one player was in double figures at the half, Charlotte’s Boris Diaw, with 10 points. Serge Ibaka and James Harden led the Thunder with nine points. Serge also grabbed six rebounds and blocked four shots in the first 24 minutes. Ibaka finished with a double-double 12 points and 13 rebounds. “Serge was very active,” Brooks said. “He’s a rebounder and a shot blocker and he’s improving all the time.”
  • Nice way to end the third quarter, Kevin Durant drives to the left wing then feeds Nazr Mohammed down low who drops in a nice little baby hook.
  • The Thunder had its best offensive quarter in the third with 29 points. Then start the fourth with a James Harden 3-pointer for a 77-65 lead, its biggest of the game to that point.
  • Westbrook pushes the lead out to 15 points when he steals an inbounds pass and dunks with less than three minutes to play to seal the win. “Russell got himself going on the defensive end,” said Brooks, “that big steal and basket in front of their bench late in the game...I thought that was big.” “We got thaat big lead late, Russell got the big steal and we got stops,” Durant said. “We have to continue doing that. We have to continue with our defense being solid, keep getting our hands on the basketball, get some steals and some easy transitions.”

PLAYS THE BOX SCORE WON’T SHOW: Kevin Durant driving toward the baseline early in the game fires a bounce pass back to Thabo Sefolosha who spins and scores...Serge Ibaka gets his first block of the game about four minutes in and sends the ball screaming into the fourth row. A couple of minutes later he rejects another shot this time Sefolosha grabs the ball before it goes out of bounds leading to two Thunder points...Nice alley-oop from Eric Maynor to Ibaka late in the first quarter, Maynor’s pass threaded the needle between two leaping Bobcat defenders and into the waiting hands of Ibaka who slammed it home...Ibaka alters a Charlotte shot, leading to a miss, Serge grabs the rebound outlets to Westbrook who finds a wide open James Harden streaking toward the basket for a jam...Sefolosha with a nifty reach-in steal on Stephen Jackson early in the third quarter. Thabo jams it home on the runout...Westbrook reaches in on DJ Augustin to tap the ball away and start another Thunder fast break. Durant finishes it with a slam...Kendrick Perkins knocks the ball away from Gerald Henderson disrupting a Charlotte possession and leading to a turnover. Westbrook converts on the other end with a jam...Thunder defense forces Charlotte into a shot clock violation with four minutes left in the game...Defense just smothering the Bobcats late in the game 1-for-7 shooting and four turnovers coming down the stretch.

LAST WORD: The Thunder has dominated teams from the Eastern Conference winning 22 of 28 games against teams from the east. “I cannot explain that, I wish I knew,” shrugged Brooks. “We don’t look at it as we’re playing the east or the west. We just look at it as the game we’re playing. We have to execute and do a lot of good things to get the win. It just so happens that we have a decent record against the East.”

UP NEXT: The Thunder homestand continues on Sunday when the Toronto Raptors come to town. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. inside Oklahoma City Arena. You can see the game on Fox Sports Oklahoma or listen to all the action on the Thunder Radio Network.