Regular Season Recap: Thunder at Pacers
9 Assists on the night by Russell Westbrook, part of 20 Thunder assists
11 Rebounds by Russell Westbrook, part of his near-triple double
11-for-11 Free throw shooting numbers for Kevin Durant in the second half
19-9 Fast break scoring advantage for the Thunder
32.0 Shooting percentage the Thunder held the Pacers to in the second half
37-28 Scoring advantage by the Thunder in the fourth quarter
44 Points by Kevin Durant on the night on 15-for-24 shooting
48-26 The points in the paint advantage for the Thunder tonight
The Thunder comes home for one game as it takes on the Toronto Raptors Sunday 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 immediately travels too Milwaukee to take on the Bucks on Monday. After that, the Thunder hosts the Los Angeles Clippers at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday and the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
GAME IN REVIEW
By Nick Gallo, Thunder Basketball Writer
Scratching, clawing and fighting for the final 15 minutes of the game, the Thunder had the Indiana Pacers on the ropes with just over a minute remaining, but it’s massive comeback from being down 24 points came up just short. The Pacers made difficult shots and found their way to the free throw line just enough to stave off a furious Thunder charge that Head Coach Scott Brooks could say he was proud of, despite the 103-98 defeat in Indianapolis.
“We’re always going to give effort. We’re always going to fight to the last minute,” Brooks said. “I liked that we were more aggressive in the second half. We got to the free throw line more. We did a lot of good things to make the game interesting, but we just got off to a bad start. They (Pacers) did a good job. I give them credit. They made a timely shot every time we had a chance to get it under 10… Our guys are going to bounce back.”
The Thunder struggled to hit shots early on in this one, while it seemed that the Pacers couldn’t miss, shooting a blistering 54.3 percent from the field in the first half despite only making two three pointers and trailing by 14 in the points in the paint statistic. Eventually in the fourth quarter the Thunder was able to get that double-digit margin below ten points after coming up empty on crucial possessions or not being able to get a stop when it needed them. In the closing minutes, the Pacers’ Darren Collison took his turn to hit a long, contested two-point jumper.
“We dug ourselves a big hole,” forward Kevin Durant said. “We fought and fought, but just couldn’t get over the hump. They (Pacers) made shots, tough shots. They’re a really good team. We respected these guys from the beginning. They have a lot of weapons.”
The emotional push was led by point guard Russell Westbrook, whose near-triple double of 21 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists nearly brought the Thunder all the way back with the help of Durant’s 44 points. Westbrook dove across the floor for loose balls, skied high in the air for rebounds and even boxed out 7’3” Roy Hibbert on occasion to get into the thick of things for loose balls. Unfortunately, his contagious energy just wasn’t quite enough to get the Thunder what would have been an historic come-from-behind victory.
“He almost had a triple double,” Durant said. “He was aggressive all game trying to get to the rim, playing through contact. He was keeping basketballs alive for us and getting everybody involved. Him playing such a good game, it’s tough to lose that for him.”
The first turning point in this one came in the first quarter, when the Pacers took a 21-18 lead with 2:57 remaining and turned it into a 32-20 lead heading into the second quarter. That 11-2 burst was followed by three straight points to give the Pacers a 15-point lead with 11:05 remaining. Two missed free throws and three straight missed three-pointers were bothersome for the Thunder during that stretch. The final turning point occurred with 1:08 remaining in the game, as the Thunder turned a 24-point deficit into only five points. The Pacers were able to bump the lead back up to six two more times by continuing to knock down free throws in addition to Darren Collison’s tough pull-up 20-foot jumper.
PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
Kevin Durant swings the ball to the corner, then Thabo Sefolosha pump fakes and gets to the rim to make the bucket and get the foul… Serge Ibaka tips a loose defensive rebound to Sefolosha, who slings the ball cross-court to Durant on a fast break for a layup… Russell Westbrook and play the pick-and-pop to perfection as Westbrook hits Ibaka for a mid-range jumper, Westbrook then sneaks in and makes a steal… Perkins grabs a tough defensive board then gets it to Durant who lobs an alley-oop for Westbrook, then Perkins and Ibaka both block shots that leads to a Westbrook-to-Durant run-out slam… Pretty screen and roll from Westbrook to Nick Collison for a finish at the rim, then Collison draws a charge on the next possession… Westbrook then drives the lane and again dumps off to Collison who finishes at the rim and draws a foul… Collison tips in a missed shot, then the Thunder plays great team defense for a full 24 seconds… Collison screens James Harden’s man to get him an open 3-pointer, then Daequan Cook skies high for a rebound that leads to a run-out… Durant posts up Paul George and makes a nice spin to bank in a leaner… Sneaky post-up by Durant near the basket and Westbrook found him for a slam dunk, then Durant drives the lane and slams one home right over Roy Hibbert… Westbrook skies high for a rebound that leads to a Westbrook-to-Ibaka alley-oop layup, then Durant smartly knocks the ball off a Pacer… Ibaka smartly picks up a loose ball in the lane and slams one home to continue the run, then he leaps up to block a shot on the other end… Perkins sets a monster screen on Paul George that allows Durant to get into the lane for a leaner then he hits a fall-away shot in the short corner.
PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Durant and Ibaka fly back in transition to block a sure layup, then Sefolosha hustles over to grab a loose defensive board… Great leaping ability from Ibaka to repeatedly block shots under the rim after a settle-down shot by Westbrook… Westbrook with major hustle to snag an offensive rebound, then Durant skies up for a big rebound that leads to a run-out and foul… Nice ball movement from Durant to Perkins to Westbrook for a dunk, then Westbrook boxes out Roy Hibbert to grab a rebound… Perkins plays nice post defense, then Harden kicks to Durant for a 3-pointer… Really pretty ball movement as Harden kicks to Fisher who finds Durant for a short corner jumper, then the Thunder forces a back-court violation… Nice defensive rotation on a pick-and-roll, then Westbrook and Durant link up on a run-out… Harden does a nice job of sliding into the lane and drawing a foul, then Westbrook hits a response 3-pointer… Huge 3-pointer by Durant, who then makes a block on the other end, then Collison comes up with a hard-fought defensive rebound… Great hustle on the defensive boards by Harden, then Westbrook hits Collison on a pick-and-roll and Collison finishes his own miss… Harden flips it cross-court to Durant, who knocks down another 3-pointer, then Westbrook scraps, claws and fights to grab a loose ball… Westbrook then steps in front and draws a charge, getting a stop for the defense… Westbrook hits Durant for a jumper then Durant makes a steal and gives it to Westbrook for a transition layup… Perkins then fights for a defensive board and outlets it to Durant to get to the rim and draw a foul… Durant dribbles in the lane and dumps it off to Perkins for a layup then Westbrook hits Perkins for a dunk underneath… Westbrook banks in a 3-pointer to keep the Thunder alive!¬