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.