Against the Hornets Wednesday, the Thunder were clumsy early on, but recovered. Against the Kings tonight, they were methodical, but fell to pieces in the second half; it got so bad that Scott Brooks, who’d pulled the starters when OKC was up by a couple of dozen, had to put three of them back in with four minutes left and the lead cut to single digits. The Kings closed to within five, but finally the Thunder put them away, 113-103.
What happened? Two words: “Isaiah Thomas.” The second-year Sacramento guard went on a shooting spree, knocking down 10 of 13 — four of seven from way outside — for a team-high 26 points, and he did it in less than 16 minutes. (Aaron Brooks, who started at the point, had 13 points in 23 minutes.) DeMarcus Cousins, who rattled down ten points in the first quarter, wasn’t a factor thereafter. The Kings shot decently, 45 percent overall, seven of 19 treys, but their rebounders didn’t show up, what with only 29 retrieved, and dimes, at 18, could fairly be characterized as “sparse.”
Especially, you know, when Russell Westbrook can serve up 13 assists by himself, which he did, to offset 4-13 shooting for 13 points. Kevin Durant took up the slack, as he often does, going 10-14 for 31. Serge Ibaka notched another double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds), and Reggie Jackson, the hero of the Hornets game Wednesday, scored — um, zip. Didn’t even take a shot in four minutes. Former King Kevin Martin, who led the bench with 18, was happy to dribble it out at the end.
I suspect that what Scott Brooks is going to want to know is “What happened to our blowout? Have we no defense?” Let’s hope he finds an answer before the Spurs show up on Monday.