Regular Season Recap: Thunder at 76ers
5-for-6 Shooting numbers for Nick Collison, who had a season-high 12 points
10 Steals for the Thunder in addition to eight blocked shots
12-for-16 Shooting numbers for Serge Ibaka, who finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks
14 Rebounds for Kevin Durant, tying a season-high, as he also had two steals
27 Bench points for the Thunder, including six on 3-for-3 shooting by Perry Jones
23 Assists for the Thunder, led by 10 for Kevin Durant to round out his triple-double
32 Points for Kevin Durant, extending his streak of 30-point games to ten straight
53-38 Differential in shooting percentages in the Thunder’s favor
GAME IN REVIEW
By Nick Gallo, Thunder Basketball Writer
Jan. 25th, 2014
PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia 76ers made their run, but the Thunder punched right back.
On the road in its fourth game in five nights and third straight on the road, the Thunder battled through every single possession, then found its moment to strike with a 12-4 run to end the third quarter that broke open the game for a 103-91 victory on Saturday night. The 76ers threw the kitchen sink at the Thunder in the third quarter, using a full-court press and a half-court trap. By executing with precision and working together, Head Coach Scott Brooks’ team, led by Kevin Durant, found a way to get a win.
During the pivotal stretch to respond to the 76ers’ preceding 9-0 run, the Thunder clamped down on defense to force three turnovers. Meanwhile, forward Perry Jones, who didn’t see time in the first half, came in and brought energy, intensity and an extra weapon on the offensive end.
“We did a good job of bouncing back and stretching the lead out a little bit,” Durant said. “They threw some stuff at us that we never see with the full court press, and I think we handled it pretty well.”
“Offensively we did a good job of executing when needed and I thought everybody chipped in during that stretch,” Brooks said. “He was ready mentally to come on in and give us six good minutes.”
The catalyst for the Thunder all night was Durant, who scored 32 points to extend his streak of scoring 30-or-more points to ten straight games. Not only did Durant find his own rhythm, shooting 12-for-17 from the field in addition to racking up a game-high 14 rebounds along with a game-high 10 assists for his second triple-double of the season and fifth of his career. Repeatedly Durant attacked with his precise ball-handling skills, leaving defenders in the dust to make plays in the lane for himself and others.
“Kevin was fantastic all the way around – defensively, offensively, moving the basketball, rebounding the ball,” Brooks said. “He did a great job of finding Serge (Ibaka).”
Durant’s partner in the scoring column tonight was Serge Ibaka, who scored 25 points on 12-for-16 shooting, mostly coming from the midrange area when the 76ers tried to double team or trap Durant up top. Possession-after-possession, Durant methodically dissected the defense based on what he was presented with, and Ibaka was always ready to receive the pass and make the correct decision. Ibaka’s efficiency on offense was combined by his 11 rebounds and five blocked shots, and earned high praise from Durant after the game.
“He’s been almost perfect in giving me an outlet when they trap me,” Durant said. “He’s doing such a great job of keeping the defense honest when he makes shots. He’s doing a better job of finding the right guy too when the defender rotates to him. Serge is playing at a high level right now, and honestly he’s playing at an All-Star level, night-in and night-out.”
The duo of Durant and Ibaka handled the majority of the scoring and rebounding load, but the Thunder got contributions up and down the roster. From Perry Jones’ important third quarter minutes to two crucial buckets from Jeremy Lamb to the steady play on the offensive and defensive end by Derek Fisher, Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison, every man who saw minutes made a contribution.
Over the past five nights when the Thunder played four games, it has taken a full team effort, and as the team heads back to Oklahoma City for one game, Perkins and Durant reflected on the past week. Despite the challenge, the Thunder is proud of how it performed up to its standards of effort and energy and hopes to learn from its seven-game winning streak.
“We just used everybody,” Perkins said. “That’s what being a deep team is about. Different guys stepped up to the plate. We did a great job of having different guys come through every night.”
“I like our focus and I think it was a good stretch for us,” Durant said.
The Sixers made a punch mid-way through the third quarter and cut the Thunder’s lead to just four points at 71-67 with 3:50 remaining in the quarter. The Thunder, however, rattled off a 12-4 run to end the period, giving itself an 83-71 advantage heading into the final frame. The burst started with a Serge Ibaka jumper off a Derek Fisher pass, then Fisher found Nick Collison for a short hook shot in the lane.
After a Sixers bucket, Kevin Durant made two free throws, then slammed home a dunk in transition. One Sixers free throw made it 79-70 Thunder before Perry Jones responded with back-to-back buckets in the paint, both assisted by Durant. During the stretch, the Thunder forced three turnovers and six-out-of-seven 76ers shots to be missed.
PLAYS THE BOX SCORE DOESN'T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
Serge Ibaka hustles back in transition to block a shot off of the man who shot it and out of bounds. Beautiful ball movement whips the ball around the floor and results in an easy driving layup for Thabo Sefolosha. Nice play by the Thunder to get a good look at the rim with just 2.4 seconds left at the end of the quarter. Slick backdoor cut by Kevin Durant after he set up his man with a fake cut. Heads up play by Durant to pitch the ball up court to Steven Adams to draw a foul.
PLAYS THE BOX SCORE DOESN'T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Strong box out by Reggie Jackson to get possession back for the Thunder. Ibaka and Jackson trap Michael Carter-Williams in the corner and force him into a turnover. An amazing, leaping catch by Sefolosha saves a would-be turnover, keeping a Thunder possession alive. Good cohesion by the Thunder to break the press and get a good look on offense. Nice pump-fake by Nick Collison to get his man in the air. Derek Fisher steps in and takes a charge in transition defense.
“We buckled down on the defensive end, limited our turnovers and took care of the rebounding. We moved the ball well and got guys some good shots tonight and got a good win.” – center Kendrick Perkins