Martin Shines, But Thunder Falls to Hawks
GAME IN REVIEW
By Nick Gallo, Thunder Basketball Writer
For the Thunder, the organization's work is based through its work, and after his team's
104-95 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night, Head Coach Scott Brooks said his team will hit the practice floor tomorrow with vigor.
Brooks said his team turned the ball over too many times, gave up some easy buckets and let the Hawks snag timely offensive rebounds, all of which he hopes can be corrected at the INTEGRIS Health Thunder Development Center on Monday morning.
"We know there is a lot of work to be done and we're going to do it," Brooks said. "We've never been an organization that's afraid to work and our guys are workers. They know that tomorrow we come back at 11 o'clock and watch some film and try to figure out a few things that we should have done better and go from there."
The Thunder allowed 30 points in the first quarter but rallied back in the second, outscoring the Hawks by 12 and holding them to only 17 points to take a 51-47 lead into halftime. The team was sparked by an electric 19 second quarter points by Kevin Martin on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting from the field (including 3-for-3 from three point range) and 6-for-6 shooting at the foul line.
"My teammates were finding me and we just needed to play with a little bit of energy that quarter," Martin said. "We were just trying to bring us back… We have a great team, we just want to keep on building chemistry."
The Thunder was unable to maintain its stinginess on defense in the third and fourth quarters, being outscored in the second half by 13. Martin's ability to spread the floor and knock down open jumpers, however, was one of the many aspects of the game that brought the Chesapeake Energy Arena crowd to its feet. Along with his game-high 28 points, Martin's veteran savvy and shotmaking ability also contributed to a season-high 27 assists on the night, including nine by Russell Westbrook and eight by Kevin Durant.
"K-Mart is a guy that doesn't need the ball for him to score," Durant said. "He was getting everything within the flow of the offense. He was a really big spark for us off the bench, and that's what we needed."
While the turnovers are an area the team will certainly address on Monday, the rest of the offense performed well, considering the team shot high percentages from the floor, the three-point line and the free throw line. What this Thunder squad will zero in on, however, is at the core of its team philosophy – defense. The team's defensive anchor and intensity igniter Kendrick Perkins can always be counted on to lead the Thunder and its defensive efforts, something he wants his team to lock in on moving forward.
"It just comes with being focused," Perkins said. "It starts with myself and I have to do a better job of leading and talking on the defensive end and just getting back to what we do, knowing what our identity is."