“It has not been a pretty performance,” said radio guy Matt Pinto, and churning up the mud in that 18-point first quarter did nothing to flatter the Thunder’s new Ultra-Drab™ alternate jerseys. OKC recovered a bit in the second, taking a 49-42 lead into the locker room; the Pistons didn’t at all act like an 0-5 team in the third, though, and the Thunder had to work at putting them away. The final was 105-94, a reappearance of the Bad Russell Westbrook (3-10 from the floor, 10 points) offset by Serge Ibaka’s career-high 25 points (9-13). (Okay, he had 26 in a playoff game once, but that’s a different set of records.)
Detroit did show strength tonight: starting center Greg Monroe posted a double-double (14 points, 10 boards), and three of the other starters (Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince, Brandon Knight) landed in double figures. What’s more, rookie power forward Andre Drummond put together a 22-point, 8-rebound night, and the Pistons actually outrebounded the Thunder, 41-38 (16-8 offensive).
Kevin Durant, yet again, came up with a double-double (25 points, 14 boards), and with Westbrook mired in whatever quag was surrounding him, Eric Maynor got more time to strut his stuff. And Maynor’s stride was long tonight: 5-6 from the floor, including 3-3 from Way Out There, for 13 points. The Thunder actually shot 53.5 percent, with Westbrook’s woes costing almost four percentage points. Still, Westbrook served up six assists. Then again, so did Kendrick Perkins (!). And how was Kevin Martin? Not the greatest shooter tonight, with 16 points (5-14), but the defense he allegedly doesn’t have, he showed he had: three steals and a block.
The Pistons get another shot on their home court Monday night. In between, there’s a Sunday-evening game against the Cavaliers, who might be without both Anderson Varejao and Tyler Zeller. “But what can you do?” said Cavs coach Byron Scott. We shall see.