Oklahoma City Thunder finally got their first win of the 2012-13 season with a 106-92 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. It was relatively close throughout the game, but the Thunder used a late surge in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Blazers. The Thunder were led by Russell Westbrook who had 32 points on 13-for-24 shooting. The win pushes Oklahoma City’s record to 1-1 on the young season. The Trail Blazers fall to 1-1.
After coming off a heart breaking loss like Oklahoma City suffered last night, they knew they would have to refocus as the Portland Trail Blazers came to town tonight. It didn’t look like that early on though. Portland jumped out 18-13 with four minutes left to go in the first quarter. Then Oklahoma City went on one of their patented runs. The Thunder closed the first quarter on a 13-3 run that was sparked by nine points from your man, Kevin Durant.
Oklahoma City and Portland battled tough in the second quarter. Oklahoma City allowed the Trail Blazers to get within three points at 36-33 with 7:49 to go in the first half. Then they used a mini 4-0 run to push it back to seven. It was pretty back and fourth to end the quarter. The Thunder went into the half after Durant slammed the ball home with seven seconds left to make OKC’s lead 49-42 at the break.
It was a wild third quarter. Tons of ups and downs for the Thunder. When Portland cut it to a one point lead with 3:02 left in the quarter, it was a very uneasy feeling in the ‘Peake. However, the Thunder stood tall like the Western Conference Champions they are, and closed the quarter on a 10-3 run. Kevin Durant’s three-pointer and Kevin Martin’s free throws capped the run, giving Oklahoma City the 74-66 lead after three quarters.
Oklahoma City completely controlled the fourth quarter, despite a small lapse midway into the quarter. Portland cut the lead to five points at 84-79 with 7:24 left to go into the contest. Then it was good night PDX. The Thunder broke off a 11-2 run to put the Trail Blazers against the wall. Then leave it to Russell Westbrook hitting two quick baskets, forcing the lead to 101-88 with 1:17. That killed any hope that Portland had left in them.
Keys to the Game
Turnovers were much more improved! The Thunder turned the ball over just 12 times tonight. They did unfortunately give up 13 points on those turnovers. What is even more impressive in this category is that Kevin Durant had six turnovers. His turnovers are just increased due to his increased usage. The rest of the team had six. So, it’s awesome tonight. Just great ball control.
Pass the ball: C
Oklahoma City didn’t hit the goal of 20 assists tonight. However, I feel the assists were better off that six of them game from Russell Westbrook. However, I do not feel good that 13 of them came from Durant and Westbrook, leaving only five for the rest of the team.
Limit Aldrich: B
Okay, Ibaka improved a bit defensively. He helped limit the All-Star, Aldridge to just 6-for-16 shooting. He seemed to really have to earn his shots tonight, and that’s what I loved to see. It seems Ibaka is finally becoming a good post defender. That was one of his weaknesses.
- It’s really amazing that Oklahoma City is able to do something so far this season that we aren’t accustomed to seeing. They’re closing quarters very strongly. All four quarters tonight, and most of the game, sans the buzzer beater last night. Heck, they still surged to even make that a ball game last night.
- How about Westbrook? 32 points on 13-for-24 shooting? It was followed by just one turnover. That’s really special to see him respond after last night’s disappointing six turnovers.
- Durant had 12 points and 10 rebounds in the first half. It was only the second time in his career that he had a double-double by halftime. The other time came March 9, 2011, against Philadelphia. He said afterward that he has set a goal of averaging a double-double this season.
- Durant’s 17 rebounds was just two rebounds shy of his career high.
- Oh, Durant’s second straight double-double.
- As a group, the Thunder bench outscored Portland’s reserves 42-15.
- We finally were able to see Perry Jones III in a Thunder uniform. He did well in the second quarter. He played about five minutes and they were good. He had two points, two rebounds and one assist. For a first outing, it was really good to see him do well. Will do nothing but build confidence.
- We finally were able to see PJ3 and Jeremy Lamb, neither waited long to impress the home crowd. Only two players didn’t see the floor tonight: Reggie Jackson and DeAndre Liggins.
- I was very disappointed in the crowd tonight. Too many empty seats. I’ll blame it on high school football. Tons of senior nights tonight. Not to mention, it’s Friday night. Parents have kids playing ball right now. Luckily, it was the final week of the regular season.
- Kendrick Perkins is day-to-day with an ankle sprain.
- Hasheem Thabeet fouled out in just 18 game minutes. That’s scary. Is that a team record? has to be.
- Damian Lillard is going to be a flat out stud. No joke. However, he has a long way to go. Russell Westbrook absolutely abused him all night. Kid will need to learn some defense before he can get on Westbrook’s level.
- Kevin Martin keeps winning my heart. he’s 5-for-6 from three-point range this season. That’s so awesome.
- Oklahoma City extends their win streak over the Trail Blazers to four games
Next Up: vs. Atlanta on Sunday. Tipoff is 6pm