Steven Adams has been showing great improvement all season long, even though it’s just five games into the season. Tonight against the Detroit Pistons, he basically had a coming out party. The Big Kiwi led the Thunder to a 119-110 win over the Pistons.
“We were just trying to keep it simple and try not to make mistakes,” Collison said of Adams. “I thought we were really locked in defensively. It was a different situation than most nights, but our bench played really well.”
Wasn’t to be outdone though, Kevin Durant, the league’s leading scorer, just lit the Pistons up all night long. Durant finished with 37 points on 9-of-15 shooting. That’s right Durant scored 37 points on 15 shots. That’s super efficient. He was just a pure scoring blood tonight.
Oklahoma City struggled in the first quarter after taking a short lead at 4-2, but throughout the first quarter, they trailed by five and six points. Detroit had their largest lead in the game early at 17-11 with 4:01 left in the quarter. Adams hit the hook shot and Thabo Sefolosha hit a big three and just like that, the Thunder grabbed the 18-17 lead.
After another 7-0 run to start the second quarter, it was just a continuous spurt of runs throughout the quarter. Oklahoma City had another one of 11-2 run that pushed Oklahoma City’s lead to 48-37 with 4:03 remaining in the quarter. Oklahoma City found themselves with a 55-51 lead at the break.
In a game in which in where the reserves would play a key role in, the reserves for Oklahoma City were ultimately the better end for the Thunder. They attributed for 42 points, 17 from Adams, and another 10 from Jeremy Lamb, who was once again very good offensively. They held the Pistons to 36 points.
For most of the game, Oklahoma City and Detroit were in a tussle back and forth, game of runs. The Thunder found themselves down by six points a couple of times. The Pistons were up 74-69 with 3:40 left in the third quarter, that’s when Durant’s prowess took it over. Durant hit a big shot, and got the and-one. Then shook off Josh Smith, draining a three from the top of the key. All of a sudden, Oklahoma City was up 75-74. Reggie Jackson then dropped six consecutive points and then Jeremy Lamb drained a there at the buzzer, giving the Thunder a 84-76 lead after three quarter. Oklahoma City rolled off a 15-2 run to end the quarter.
Leading by 10 early in the fourth, Oklahoma City struggled to put Detroit away. The Pistons got within 88-84 9:33 left, but didn’t have an answer for Durant down the stretch. Smith committed his fifth foul trying to guard him with 5:07 left, and Durant hit both free throws to give him 30 points and move the Oklahoma City lead to 101-89. Smith fouled out moments later, and picked up a technical foul on his way off the floor, disagreeing with the call.
Oklahoma City held off a furious Pistons rally at the end of the game to hold on for the win.
Keys to the game
Bench Production: A+
The bench was once again impressive. The Thunder got 42 points from their bench, including 10 from Lamb. He drained two big three-pointers and played okay defense. He hit the shots when the Thunder needed some while the stars rested. Jackson played well enough that Scott Brooks went with Jackson for an extended time in the fourth quarter.
Fast Break: D
Well, it wasn’t exactly the running game that some of us anticipated, despite the high scoring. Oklahoma City scored just 12 points in transition tonight and wasn’t looking to run that much. Credit the Pistons who knew Oklahoma City was going to get out and run. They got back in defense quickly. Probably something Mo Cheeks had put into their game plan tonight.
Let the Pistons self destruct: B
For the most part, Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings took bad shot after bad shot. They turned it over five times, committed 10 fouls an shot under 45 percent. Before Jennings hit three big shots in the final minute of the game, he was just 4-of-14 at one point in the game shooting.