On the second of this month, the Thunder had a 15-point halftime lead over the Nets, and still lost. The game plan this time around, evidently, was to pile up twice as big a lead: Oklahoma City was up 63-35 at the half, and even a barrage of Brooklyn treys in the fourth quarter couldn’t save the Nets from being blown out by the Thunder, 120-95.
And that fourth quarter was conducted with neither Kevin Durant nor Serge Ibaka, who must have set some sort of record for aggregate efficiency in the first 36 minutes: Durant hit 10 of 12 for 26 points, Ibaka 12 of 12 for 25. (Okay, Serge missed a free throw. Sue him.) OKC shot a stirring 63 percent, landing six players in double figures, and Kendrick Perkins just missed it by a bucket. (Yes, Perk. Four for nine. And eight rebounds.) The Thunder outrebounded the Nets by a startling 41-17, and moved the ball around with aplomb: 28 assists.
Still, this didn’t look like a blowout early on, as Nets guard Shaun Livingston was hitting everything in sight. (He finished 6-8 to lead the Brooklyn effort with 16 points.) The Thunder had a slim 11-10 lead in the first when all of a sudden Perk hit three shots in a row, courtesy of assists from KD and Reggie Jackson, and something in the karmic bubble began to boil; after that, the Nets, who’d won eight of their last ten to jump from the bottom of the Titanic Division to just below the Raptors, came totally unglued. The Brooklyn bench did yeoman work, contributing a hefty 55 points to the cause, but when the starters have only 40 to offer — well, this is the result.
The Great Eastern Sweep continues tomorrow night in the District of Columbia; in their last meeting, the Thunder beat the Wizards by one point. I’m sure Scott Brooks mentions that on the plane tonight.