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Déjà Vu! Thunder win 8th straight, blow out Bulls

Chuck Chaney December 19, 2013 1 Comment
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant started out the game hitting a big three-pointer and it was over from that point.

The Oklahoma City Thunder led the Chicago Bulls start to finish. They improved to a league best 21-4 with the 107-95 win over the Bulls. Durant finished with 32 points on 13-of-20 shooting. He went 4-of-5 from three-point range and grabbed a casual nine rebounds. It was the 13th 30-point game for the MVP candidate, league high. No one else has more than seven.

What Durant has done during this win streak is something historic if you ask me. He’s shooting 57.8 percent field goal, 58.6 percent from the arc and 88.7 from the line. Yeah, those lines are sick.

Oklahoma city (21-4) reached a double-digit lead early in the first quarter when Jeremy Lamb drained a three, giving Oklahoma City the 29-18 lead with 2:40 left in the quarter. Oklahoma City would find themselves at the same margin when the quarter ended, Thunder leading 35-24.

Big point to notice is how many free throws the Bulls shot tonight. Chicago (9-16) was about to be very aggressive and get to the line a lot tonight. Oklahoma City shot just 12-of-14 from the free throw line. The Bulls were 29-of-39, almost tripling how many Oklahoma City shot tonight. The Thunder lead could have been 25 or even 30 point lead had the free throws been a little bit more even.

Russell Westbrook gave everyone a bit of a scare when he stepped on the foot of Kendrick Perkins, rolling his ankle. He sat out the remaining minutes of the first half, but played in the second half. Early on, he seemed really timid due to the ankle roll near the rim. His confidence came back, and he finished with 20 points and 10 assists. It is Westbrook’s seventh double-double of the season, his 102nd of his career.

Thabo Sefolosha scored 10 points, grabbed five rebounds and shared four assists. For Sefolosha, his three early in the game was key for his confidence, he had been struggling this season. Sefolosha’s 10 points was the most points since the opening game against Utah (scored 14 points).

When Westbrook going down and the foul trouble he accrued this evening, Reggie Jackson was huge for the Thunder. The Sixth Man of the Year, Most Improved candidate, has been nothing but special this year. He scored 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, grabbed five rebounds and nailed two three-pointers in the Thunder win.

Lamb scored seven points on 3-of-11 shooting. Steven Adams, Stone Cold Steven Adams (new nickname), was just really great defensively. He just continued his growth and limited what Chicago could do when he was on the court. He’s becoming a real blessing for Oklahoma City this season.

In the second half, Oklahoma City were able to get out in transition more. That led to more scoring at the rim, see keys to the game, and the Thunder pushed their lead to as many as 19 in the second half. That point was reached when Westbrook hti a couple of free throws to give Oklahoma City a 105-86 lead with 3:06 remaining.

The win gives Oklahoma City a tie for the franchise record for most wins to start a season at 13-0. The record matches the 1976-77 Seattle Sonics. I was originally wrong with my research. Oklahoma City hosts Toronto on Sunday to see if they’re able to set the new franchise record. Currently, Oklahoma City owns the OKC franchise record.

Keys to the Game

Bench Production: A
While the Thunder scored less than their 33 points per game tonight, it was the way Jackson stepped up tonight. His 18 points were very instrumental in how the Thunder weaathered the early foul trouble. They were even the ones who extended the lead to double-digits int he first quarter. As usual, Adams and Lamb were just very good rotational players.

Fast Break: A+
Oklahoma City had just nine points on the break in the first half. They came out gunning in the second half. They dropped 15 points in transition, outscoring the Bulls 15-4 on the break in the second half. The Thunder also outscored the Bulls by nine in the half. Not exactly the biggest coincidence.

Score at the rim: A+
In the first half, Oklahoma City shot just 50 percent at the rim (10-of-20). In the second half, using the fast break to help, Oklahoma City was much more efficient, shooting 12-of-17 (70.6 percent) right at the rim. Oklahoma City did what they needed to find a way to score and it was huge in pulling away from Chicago.

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Founder & Editor-in-Chief. Member of the Professional Basketball Writer's Association. Lover of Advanced Stats. Russell Westbrook apologist.