Everything you need to know about this game is in this statistic: Byron Mullens had a career-high 5 points. When the 12th man gets extended minutes, it’s a blowout by definition, and the final — Oklahoma City 106, Cleveland 77 — confirms it.
Not that the Cavaliers didn’t contribute some suction to the process: they hit only 26 of 77 from the field, 33.8 percent. They did good work on getting second-chance points — 16 offensive rebounds, nine by Anderson Varejao alone — but they wouldn’t have needed second-chance points if they’d scored on the first chance. Further, the Cavs left 12 points at the stripe, hitting only 20 of 32. When they had a play, they generally executed well, but too often they really didn’t have a play, and after a 28-point second quarter, they managed only 32 points the rest of the way. Anthony Parker led the Cleveland scorers with twelve.
The Thunder shot perhaps uncharacteristically well, hitting 41 of 77 for 53.2 percent. With a 28-point bulge after three quarters, Scott Brooks saw no need to keep the starters out there any longer. Still, Kevin Durant bagged 25 points, Jeff Green (who played 30:20, longer than anyone else in the game) 19, and Russell Westbrook 14. The bench, given lots of time to work, contributed 43 points, 19 by James Harden. Free throws were a little off — 17 of 24 — but it didn’t seem to matter.
This is the first of four games at the Scrape That Brand Name Off Arena. The Rockets will be here Wednesday, the Kings on Friday, and the Suns on, you guessed it, Sunday. Now’s the time to make up some ground on the — what’s that? We’re tied with the Jazz for first in the Northwest? Well, in that case, now’s the time to shoot past them, if we can.