In the upper right hand corner of the front page of this morning’s Oklahoman:
Upon hearing that he’s a Detroit Piston now:
I think we can take that as a Yes.
Anyway, we wish him well at the Palace, and we hope Kendrick Perkins, being bought out by the Jazz, and Ish Smith, dealt to the Pelicans, find happiness in new gigs. In the meantime, there were only ten bodies to suit up against the Mavericks tonight, none of the OKC New Guys ex-Pistons D. J. Augustin and Kyle Singler, ex-Jazz Enes Kanter and Steve Novak having arrived. (Okay, new Mav Amar’e Stoudemire hasn’t reported yet either, but both of the questionable Dallas guys, Rajon Rondo and Tyson Chandler, were considered well enough to play.) Didn’t matter so much: the Mavs managed only 19 points in the first quarter, 17 in the second, and the Thunder ballooned to a 22-point lead. Dallas recovered with an 8-0 run to start the fourth before OKC stanched the flow; the Mavs would never get within single digits, and the Thunder evened up the season series at 1-1 with a convincing 104-89 spanking of those Dallas fellows.
Much of this, of course, was Russell Westbrook’s doing. The All-est of the All-Stars, after knocking down 41 for the West, might have slowed down after a week off in some other universe. In this one: 34-5-10. Serge Ibaka put together his first 20-20 game ever, with 21 points and 22 rebounds. Nick Collison, getting an actual start, scored two but retrieved nine boards; Andre Roberson scored four and retrieved 12 boards. You might conclude from this that the Thunder were just rebounding fools tonight, and the box score smiles: 62-39. OKC did turn the ball over a lot 25 times what with two of three point guards having been traded away; still, 20 assists on 38 made shots is not too shabby, and besides Westbrook.
As seemingly always, Dallas’ top scorer was Dirk. As hardly ever, Dirk had 14 points on 6-16 shooting and missed all three treys. Monta Ellis, who’d been on a point-scoring roll of late, was held to seven; Chandler, in the middle, did produce a double-double (10 points and 13 rebounds), but the times the Mavs were moving the ball well were few and far between, and the Thunder exhibited some enthusiasm for chasing down loose balls, something they’ve not been consistently good at.
The new guys may show up in Charlotte Saturday, or at the ‘Peake Sunday to greet the Nuggets. Either way, it’s going to be just slightly different from here on out.