13 December 2010
Forget about the Oklahoma City Thunder not being able to play as well at home. Forget about the fact that the Thunder had won just one out of their five games played on Sundays. Forget about the fact that this team has been struggling in the first quarter and having to come from behind in the second half with tenacious defense and solid free throw shooting.
Last night was an absolute drubbing at home on a Sunday with a solid first quarter and only a decent effort from the charity stripe. That just goes to show that it really isn't worth attempting to handicap any of this stuff. Just sit back and enjoy the show.
There was certainly plenty to enjoy last night as the Thunder destroyed the Cleveland Cavaliers, 106-77, in the largest margin of victory in a home game in Thunder history.
This was nice to see for a change. The drama was taken out of this one in the beginning - as was the suspense. Not only were some of the leaders not needed to bring the team back in the end, but they were not needed late at all in this one. Oklahoma City ran off to an early 31-17 lead after just one quarter of play. After getting outscored by the Cavs by three points in the second quarter, the Thunder decided they were through toying with Cleveland in the third quarter, as they pummeled them 30-13 in that frame.
While the Thunder have struggled at times with weaker teams, as they seem to come down to play on their level, last night was no such case. Cleveland is not just one of the weaker teams in the NBA, but rather the absolute weakest. They are the epitome of weak, unless you ask their owner Dan Gilbert, who is still saying that this team will win a title before the Miami Heat. Gilbert needs to stop worrying about the Heat and focus on the mess that is the Cleveland Cavaliers. The other thing he can shift his attention to is praying that the lottery balls come up in his favor next year and that the Cavs get the top pick in the NBA Draft. While there may be no LeBron James in next year's draft class, anything has to be an improvement over this sorry bunch. It is no wonder at all to me why James departed for South Beach.
But enough about that.
The Thunder got a solid all around effort from their starters and a couple of bench players. You can tell that Scott Brooks is still tinkering around with different combinations of his reserves to maximize their output. When the starters are all on the floor together, good things happen. Last night may have been a step in the right direction, because the bench players also played a key role in some of the Thunder's biggest scoring runs in the game.
Defense has been the answer for this team, and last night was no different. And even though they had one of their worst shooting performances from the foul line, they had one of their best shooting nights from the field, connecting on almost 54 percent of their field goals attempted. Kevin Durant led the way with a game high 25 points to go along with 7 rebounds. Russell Westbrook added 14 points and 11 assists and Jeff Green had 19 points and 2 steals. James Harden was great coming off of the bench again with 19 points, including a huge Dunkface (shoutout to SportsNation and Michelle Beadle and Colin Cowherd) over J.J. Hickson.
This could be the start to a big week for Oklahoma City, as they still have three more consecutive home games against teams with records under .500 on the season. They have the next two nights off, but then get to host the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns. Let's hope that everyone forgets about some of their early season struggles at home by the end of this week.
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