Royce at Daily Thunder pointed out earlier today that Oklahoma City hadn’t won a single rematch all season. No jinx, though: while the Thunder fell behind early, they beavered away at the Detroit lead, managed to get a point ahead by halftime, held serve in the third quarter and then shut down the Pistons in the fourth, earning a 2-0 sweep of the season series with a 109-98 win.
Weirdly, Rip Hamilton, who wasn’t available for the first game of the series at Auburn Hills, sat for this one too; he’s managed to play in only three games between injuries. What’s more, both Ben Gordon and Tayshaun Prince were sidelined. But the Pistons still had muscle: Rodney Stuckey ran off 20 points in the first half and finished with a game-high 31. Charlie Villanueva scored 16 from off the bench; rookie Jonas Jerebko, pressed into a starting role, contributed 12. And Detroit won the battle of the boards, 40-38.
The Thunder got the job done, though, shooting 50 percent and delivering 8 of 15 from the three-point line. OKC also came up with 24 assists, versus 13 for the Pistons, and blocked ten shots. Six Thunderers (there’s got to be a better term than this) landed in double figures; Kevin Durant had 27, a tad below his average, and Serge Ibaka scored 12, a career high. Ibaka and fellow rookie James Harden (14 points) shone in the fourth quarter, putting together a 9-0 run to put the game out of Detroit’s reach.
Oklahoma City is now 7-2 against Eastern Conference foes. Unfortunately, the next three games are against Western powers, and they’re all on the road.