By: Sam Agnitsch
The Thunder took care of business Monday night, despite the best efforts of Wizards coach Don Newman ‘s sweet eye patch, to sweep the season series against the Wizards 114-98. Newman filling in for Coach Randy Wittman (death in the family) had a tall order in front of him anyway with the Thunder coming off a much needed weekend long break. He could only watch helplessly as the Thunder raced off to a 36 point 1st quarter, shooting a blistering 68% from the field. The 3rd and 2nd highest totals for 1st quarter scoring this season. The Big 3 of Ibaka, Westbrook and Durant COMBINED to shoot 12-14 in the first frame, largely due to Russ’ Post up game and excellent ball movement but Serge’s reemergence was probably the biggest takeaway from the evening. Averaging an abysmal 9 points and 8 rebounds the last 5 games, Ibaka’s presence was felt immediately, scoring the first Thunder bucket and following it up with an array of pick and rolls and spot up jumpers finishing with 19 and 10 on 8-12 shooting with 2 blocks.
Russell Westbrooked his way to yet another triple-double (his 25th career and 7th this season) pouring in 17 with 13 boards and carving up the defense for 11 assists and Kevin Durant rounded out the scoring with a quiet (for him) 28 points and 9 rebounds.
The Wizards were never quite able to catch up after the first and never really threatened the outcome, led by guards John Wall and Bradley Beal with 17 and 18 points respectively. Not really much to take away from this one, the Thunder took care of home court to a clearly outmatched team. However, there is a steadily growing improvement in ball movement courtesy of Billy Donovan and his system. Seeing how the team responded after some much-needed practice time was very encouraging.
When the Thunder locks in defensively in addition to that, they are very scary. We shall see, though, success in this league is fleeting and considering the brutal schedule they face this month with a home and home against defending champs Golden State and a date with LeBron and the Cavs. This has been the month Thunder fans have been clamoring for and will be very telling where they sit in the pecking order of the Western Conference. Buckle up Thunderers, this is going to get good.
- Seriously though how bad ass was Don Newman’s eye patch? Can’t help but think Scotty Brooks might still be here if he adopted that strategy
- Enes Kanter has been terrific these last few games, adding 14 and 5 tonight. His new found confidence in his mid-range game has been a huge plus.
- Look if Kevin decides to leave for Washington this summer it can only be because he wants to go home, there is a huge discrepancy in talent between these two teams, it’s not even close
- Serge’s dunk on Marcin Gortat was filthy, he might need to think about retiring to whatever Amish community he stole his beard from.
- Going back to Serge, I don’t think it’s necessarily that he’s been playing badly. I think he’s been struggling to find where he fits in Donovan’s pick and roll heavy system, hopefully, he can start to settle in now and get more comfortable.
- Cameron Payne brings a whole new level to our bench, the kid can play well done Presti.
- … still can’t help but make hilarious rookie mistakes like his complete whiff on taking that charge in the 2nd.
- Brian Davis Line of the Night “The Thunder are making chicken salad in the kitchen tonight!” They sure are Brian, they sure are.
- Next: Home Wednesday vs Orlando