The last game these Pistons had won was against the Thunder in disrepair, three weeks ago. You might have guessed that this wouldn’t happen again, with OKC fortified with Batman and Robin once more; you might not have guessed, however, just how difficult this task would prove to be. After a 2-0 lead early, OKC fell behind, and stayed there until nearly the end of the third quarter. Detroit, despite being a tad fragged on the second half of a back-to-back, would not go away; with four treys in the fourth quarter, they stayed within reach until the last second, when a Josh Smith trey for the lead went awry, and once the Thunder inbounded twice it was Oklahoma City 96, Detroit 94, and a 1-1 split for the season.
Four starting Pistons made it into double figures, led by the redoubtable Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who probably would have gotten mentioned here even if he hadn’t scored a team-high 19, because, darn it, he’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. (Starting point guard Brandon Jennings scored only 6, but he served up a game-high 9 assists.) Stalwart Greg Monroe led the reserves with 12. What the Pistons failed to do was block shots: Andre Drummond had one, and that was it.
As for the Dynamic Duo, Russell Westbrook came up with 11 rebounds while scoring 22, and Kevin Durant, still playing just under 30 minutes, cranked out 28. Nearly as flashy was Serge Ibaka, with 13 points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks. Reggie Jackson, quite involuntarily, wound up being more playmaker than scorer, though Jeremy Lamb happily took up the slack, dropping in 12. As happened last time, the Pistons got more foul shots (19-28), though the Thunder were 12-17, a decided improvement over the 1-6 they posted that night in November.
Another rematch coming up: Tuesday at the ‘Peake, against the Bucks. OKC will have to win that one also to secure a 1-1 season split.