The one night that the Thunder manage to summon some serious offense, they fall down on ballhandling: OKC shot 54.5 percent, 63.6 from downtown, but gave up twenty points on turnovers. Add to this double-doubles by Emeka Okafor and Sean May, and it’s probably a good thing Charlotte only won by six, 103-97.
Going smaller has gotten Oklahoma City a few more points in the paint, but rebounding is off as a result: the Bobcats pulled down 35 boards, 11 on offense, versus 28 and 5. (Okafor, all by himself, had more offensive rebounds than the Thunder, not to mention outscoring everyone with 25.) At that level, it didn’t matter that the ‘Cats shot only 47.4 percent.
The Kevin Durant Show was acceptably sparkly: 24 points with three treys. Jeff Green added 18 with two treys of his own. The threes were falling so well, in fact, that Desmond Mason, who hadn’t even tried one in a couple of years, sent one up. (And missed.) We’re seeing the same point-guard pattern as before: Russell Westbrook gets the points (ten), Earl Watson serves up the dimes (11). And Chris Wilcox was a powerhouse again, with 12 points, five boards and, once more, six fouls.
Certainly no one on this team believes that malarkey about the Eastern Conference being the weak sister of the league: the Thunder haven’t beaten anyone in the East yet. And with Orlando and Miami coming up on this road trip, they probably won’t for a while.