After three losses in a row to playoff teams wait a minute, Indiana’s a playoff team, aren’t they? Well, yeah, they started the day in the #8 slot in the East. Still, the Thunder took out its accumulated frustrations on the poor Pacers, 113-89. (Telltale statistic: Tyler Hansbrough, of all people, was the only player who clocked more than 30 minutes.)
Scott Brooks tried out yet another starting lineup tonight: freshly-acquired center Nazr Mohammed was installed in the middle, and he did pretty much what you want a freshly-acquired center to do against Indiana, which is to keep Roy Hibbert from running amok. Hibbert did snag twelve rebounds, but he scored only nine points, yielded up five turnovers, and finished -23. Meanwhile, Thabo Sefolosha kept Danny Granger at bay; Indiana’s top scorer was Tyler Hansbrough, of all people, with 13 off the bench. The Pacers missed everything the first four minutes of the game, and wound up shooting a dire 34.1 percent; the starters contributed only 33 of Indiana’s 89 points.
The Thunder still apparently have offense. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook had 21 points each, though Durant exited with an ankle sprain, apparently inflicted by Tyler Hansbrough, of all people. James Harden led the bench with 20. Mohammed finished with 8; Nate Robinson entered the game in the second quarter, returned in the fourth, and scored 6. And Daequan Cook continues to hit for distance, putting up seven treys and connecting on four.
So at least the team isn’t demoralized. However, they have to pack their bags for a Friday game at Atlanta; next home game is Sunday against the Suns.