Regular Season Recap: Thunder vs Kings

KINGS 89

THUNDER 115
7 Blocked shots by Serge Ibaka, improving his NBA-leading blocks-per-game average

11 Rebounds and points for Kendrick Perkins, part of the big man’s double-double

11 Total players who scored for the Thunder on the night, including five in double figures

14 Points for Derek Fisher on 6-for-9 shooting, his best scoring output as a member of the Thunder

35-18 Scoring differential for the Thunder in the second quarter, which featured an 18-2 run.

46 Bench points for the Thunder despite James Harden resting with a sore knee

48-26 Points in the paint advantage for the Thunder, which shot 24-for-46 from the paint and only had to attempt 12 three pointers

58-41 Rebounding advantage for the Thunder, who also had 16 offensive rebounds leading to 21 second chance points

The Thunder hits the road to start a five game road trip, starting at the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night. Game time is 7:00 p.m. Central and will air live on Fox Sports Oklahoma and the Thunder Radio Network.

The Thunder then travels to Los Angeles to face the Clippers on Monday night to Phoenix to take on the Suns on Wednesday night and then to Sacramento to play the Kings on Friday night.

“We just have to take it one day at a time,” Perkins said of the upcoming road trip. “I think one game at a time and keep getting better, keep taking steps forward and none backwards and I think we’ll be alright.”

GAME IN REVIEW


RECAP:
Starting 0-for-8 from the field was something the Thunder isn’t generally accustomed to, but after that opening stretch against the Sacramento Kings, Head Coach Scott Brooks’ team really turned up the noise, rocking to a 115-89 victory. Through a solid, full-team effort that featured a major rebounding advantage and a stifling defensive effort that held the Kings to 39 percent shooting, the Thunder weathered the early storm to get a nice victory heading into a five-game road trip.

“One of the things that we talked about today in our shootaround is that everybody has to be 100 percent in on the defensive end no matter what type of set a team is running,” Brooks said. “I thought everybody was really committed. We got off to a defensive start and we finished the game with good defense.”

The game was a back-and-forth affair throughout most of the first half, despite the fact that the Thunder was controlling the pace and tempo of the game. Starting mid-way through the second quarter, the shots began to fall and the Thunder embarked on an 18-2 run that put the game out of reach completely. After a monster one-handed dunk from Russell Westbrook off a Kevin Durant alley-oop, the Thunder led by 12 points and the game was never close after that.

“I knew we were going to make a run,” Durant said. “We were missing layups and open shots, but eventually we got some stops which turned into easy shots.”

The second quarter run was amplified by a solid third quarter that saw a scoring flurry from the second unit, whose 46 points were even more impressive considering James Harden missed the game with a sore knee. Derek Fisher scored 14 points, his highest point total as a member of the Thunder, while Daequan Cook chipped in 13 points and Nazr Mohammed had an effective eight points and six rebounds. Throughout the third and fourth quarters that second group played off of one another in order to extend the lead to 32 points.

“I thought collectively as a group we tried to do a good job of playing the game as it came to us,” Fisher said. “Early our defense was carrying us and once some baskets started falling the energy in the building picked up and I felt good out there. I was glad the second group was able to get some good things done tonight.”

The heavy lifting, however, was done by the bigs from the starting unit, as Serge Ibaka finished with seven blocked shots and Kendrick Perkins hauled in 11 rebounds to go with his 11 points. The inside do helped give the Thunder a plus-17 rebounding advantage to go along with 21 second chance points off of 16 offensive rebounds and a 22-point advantage in paint scoring. Durant said that protecting the paint was a point of emphasis heading into the game, which was reinforced by Perkins’ belief that the entire team was prepared for the matchup.

“We just played an overall good team game,” Perkins said. “I thought everybody came to play. We kept grinding. Our offense wasn’t rolling early but we kept grinding on the defensive end and got the job done.”

TURNING POINT:
After a back-and-forth first quarter, the Thunder took control of the game for good in the second quarter starting with 5:37 remaining in the half with a narrow 38-35 lead. Over the final stretch of the first half the Thunder outscored the Kings 18-to-2, giving it a 56-37 lead with 40.2 seconds remaining in the half. Kevin Durant jumpstarted the run with a driving layup with the foul, Russell Westbrook knocked down a jumper, followed by a Serge Ibaka jumper. Then Westbrook fed Durant in the post for a turnaround and that favor was returned when Durant set up Westbrook for the play of the game and possibly the season. The one-handed alley-oop jam by Westbrook with 2:31 remaining brought the house down in Chesapeake Energy Arena and the game was never the same after that.

Westbrook on the run

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
Kendrick Perkins makes a big defensive rebound then Serge Ibaka swats away a shot the next time down court… Ibaka swats a DeMarcus Cousins shot at the rim, leading to a Russell Westbrook run-out to draw a foul… Westbrook gets a pitch-ahead pass from Kevin Durant, then finds Perkins for a layup… Westbrook drives and kicks to Durant, who flies into the lane for a monster slam dunk… Westbrook uses a slick behind-the-back dribble to shake his man then finish in transition with a layup, then he dazzles with a lefty finish at the rim… Perkins cleans up the offensive boards for a layup after a Durant rebound and run-out… Westbrook makes a steal then races down court for a layup, then Nick Collison bodies up Cousins to force a missed shot… Nazr Mohammed tips in a missed shot, then the Thunder plays a solid 24 seconds of defense to force a shot clock violation… Derek Fisher makes a steal, then uses a two-man game with Mohammed to get the big man a driving layup… Mohammed and Royal Ivey combine to make a steal, then Fisher sets up Mohammed for a mid-range jumper… Fisher hits Collison for a jumper, then Ivey makes a steal in the backcourt with hustle and toughness… Daequan Cook works around a Durant screen and nails a three-pointer off a Westbrook assist… Durant knocks one home off a solid in-bounds playcall, then Durant twisted his way to the hoop to make a layup with the foul… Durant drives and kicks to Ibaka for a mid-range jumper, then Westbrook smartly feeds Durant in the post against a much-smaller man… Ibaka flies back in transition defense to force a turnover then Durant throws an alley-oop to Westbrook for an unbelievable one-handed slam!... Thunder defense forces a turnover then Sefolosha hits a three and Westbrook finishes at the cup… Sefolosha gets back in transition to steal a save attempt, then Perkins beats the buzzer with a tip in.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Sefolosha drives and dumps it to Westbrook, who pump fakes and hits a layup while being fouled… Perkins makes a nice pump-and-under finish in the post, then Westbrook drives and slaps the ball to Durant for a jam… Serge Ibaka clears out a crowd for a defensive rebound, then Westbrook flies in to grab a loose ball… Collison does a nice job of fronting the post as Mohammed rotates over to help, then Durant uses the cross-over dribble to free himself up for a jumper… Fisher hits Durant in the high post, then he relocates and hits a jumper off of Durant’s pass out to the corner… Collison makes an offensive rebound and kicks it to Cook, who unselfishly passes it back to Collison for an open jumper… Collison grabs a defensive board and sends it way upcourt to a leaking Durant to draw the foul… Nice passing from Cook to Collison to Mohammed for a slam dunk in the paint… Fisher makes a steal in the backcourt, then Collison plays straight up defense to force a miss… Fisher dribbles to the corner and hits a jumper while being fouled, then Collison gives great effort to snag another offensive rebound… Absolutely beautiful tip pass from Mohammed to Collison for an easy bucket then Mohammed makes a steal and sets up Fisher with a pick for a jumper… Ivey comes away with a rebound and dishes to Fisher for a three-pointer, then Cook makes a driving layup after cleaning up the defensive glass… Collison hustles to tip a rebound to Ivey, who takes the ball downcourt and finishes at the rim with the foul… Cole Aldrich with a nice blocked shot on the defensive end leads to a Reggie Jackson run-out to draw the foul… Jackson makes an athletic steal of an alley-oop attempt, then Jackson reels in an offensive rebound and hits Cook for a three-pointer... Tough defense by Aldrich and Ivey to wrangle in a steal and loose ball effectively ends the game.



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