The Pistons were definitely moving at high speed tonight, taking a 51-45 lead at the half and extending it to 73-62 after three. The Thunder started the fourth quarter with an 11-0 run to get back into it, and things went back and forth for most of the rest of the evening, with OKC going up 88-85 with 47 seconds left and Detroit taking its last timeout. The final was 92-90, and the Pistons are officially swept.
It was Russell Westbrook’s birthday, and he didn’t take any time off. In fact, he played the entire second half, putting together a formidable line: 33 points (11-25), 10 rebounds, four assists, three steals, and only two turnovers. And beyond that, there were free throws: 37 points from the stripe out of 42 attempts. (Of the five misses, Westbrook had four. Then again, he hit 11.) Kevin Durant (26 points) went 10-10 on free throws; Kevin Martin (15 points) went 8-8. This almost makes up for the appalling 37-percent shooting (and a nauseating 1-10 for distance).
The Pistons shot a little better (just under 40 percent, 6-17 on treys), definitely moved the ball better (22 assists versus 10), and had fewer turnovers to boot (11 versus 14). Four Detroit starters finished in double figures (Brandon Knight, who went 2-13 from the floor, missed by a bucket), but none broke twenty. They could have pulled this one out, but Durant and Westbrook weren’t having any of that, and besides, Scott Brooks’ brand of small ball — Serge Ibaka took over the middle, with Durant playing power forward — seems to work a hell of a lot better than you’d think it would.
Next opponent figures to be even tougher than the Pistons were tonight. I’m talking Grizzlies; the Memphis boys will come to town Wednesday. Let’s hope there are extra medical personnel on hand.