This probably says as much as anything else:
Russell Westbrook’s third knee operation set things in motion for a Thunder collapse in Charlotte, and OKC’s meager 62 points through three quarters suggested that they might do exactly that — except for the fact that the Bobcats only had 60 at the time. And the ‘Cats, down eight with two minutes left, pulled to within one; Josh McRoberts just missed a trey in the waning seconds, and two Thabo Sefolosha free throws sealed the deal for the Thunder, 89-85.
By no means was this a display of offense: Charlotte hit 30 of 80 shots (37.5 percent), OKC 33 of 80 (41.3). The ‘Cats missed four free throws; the Thunder missed nine. Charlotte put up 23 treys and made nine; OKC tossed up 25 and made eight. Still, four of the five Charlotte starters reached double figures, led by Kemba Walker with 18; stalwart Al Jefferson delivered 16 points and collected 11 rebounds.
It definitely wasn’t Reggie Jackson’s night. Starting in place of Westbrook, he hoisted brick after brick, 4-19 in all. Still, that’s 10 points, the same as Temporary Sixth Man Jeremy Lamb. Kendrick Perkins didn’t hit a shot all night, but he knows how to guard the likes of Jefferson, and he wound up with ten boards. And then there’s Kevin Durant. Radio guy Matt Pinto had mentioned earlier that KD scored, on average, fewer points against the Bobcats than against any other NBA team. Durant promptly knocked down 14 in the fourth quarter for 34, making me wonder if he’d heard. (Oh, he knew. KD always knows.)
Still, bigger challenges are coming, starting Sunday against Houston; in a severely twisted twist of fate, the Rockets will be missing Patrick Beverley.