You might not have expected this level of ferocity from an 8-17 team. But the Brooklyn Nets, up two after the first quarter, were up 16 at the half and managed to push that lead to 23 at various points thereafter. And at some point, Paul George evidently had had enough. In the first 36 minutes, PG-13 had a respectable 22 points. In the next 12 minutes, he had 25 more, including the last score of the game, a three-pointer that put the Thunder up 114-112. According to radio guy Matt Pinto, this was the greatest comeback in OKC NBA history, And it ended in spectacular fashion, with the stop to end all stops: the Nets got the ball back with 0.1 second. With that meager sliver of time, Brooklyn had exactly one option: to lob the ball to above the rim and have another player gently guide it through without getting close enough to get called for goaltending. Chances of this happening: next to nil, changing quickly to nil as the ball approached the net.
The spirit of Joe Btfsplk was evidently moving above the Barclays Center. The Nets shot adequately, a smidgen better than the Thunder from three-point range and much better than the Thunder from the charity stripe. (Fifteen of 26?) Six Brooklyn players reached double figures, led by Allen Crabbe with 22 and Joe Harris with 19. Any other night, they’d have won it easily.
But then there was Russell Westbrook, getting one more triple-double (21-15-17) and passing Jason Kidd on the all-time list, in the arena where Kidd’s jersey hangs from the rafters. And there was nobody noticing Westbrook anyway: Paul George had long since taken over the game, finishing with 47 points, one short of his career high, on 15-27 shooting, 6-13 from beyond the arc, and 11-14 from the line. Oh, and he collected 15 rebounds. It’s enough to overlook the mere 18 points generated by the OKC bench, two-thirds of which came from Dennis Schröder.
Jim Boylen is 0-1 so far as coach of the Bulls. I’m thinking maybe he’s not expecting to even up that record when the Thunder arrive in the City of the Big Shoulders Friday night.