The surprising part of tonight’s game against the Utah Jazz wasn’t that the game ended with a twenty-one point difference; the surprise came in the fact that the Thunder were the ones that were twenty-one points ahead!
The Jazz came into tonight’s game with a simple plan — shoot lots of shots from the three-point line (or darn close to it), and occasionally drive to the hoop. It seemed like the Jazz missed almost every shot from the outside, and the Thunder were defenseless against them every time they went inside. Based on that you would have thought the Jazz would have simply continued to run straight to the basket on ever possession. They didn’t; instead they continued to shoot from the outside as if John Stockton and Jeff Hornacek were still on the team.
The Thunder on the other hand actually looked — dare I say — good? Offensive plays were run successfully and there were several successful defense plays (including one that broke up a potential alley-oop). New center Nenad Krstic earned his keep tonight by dropping three buckets in a row and constantly competing for rebounds at both ends of the floor. I didn’t notice this until tonight but the Thunder’s free throws look 10x better than the last time I saw them in person. I suspect the team has been shooting an awful lot of them in practice lately. The Thunder were able to keep the number of turnovers in the fourth (relatively) low, and although we appeared defenseless every single time the Jazz drove to the rim, for some reason they didn’t do it enough. Plus, having three players (Westbrook, Durant and Green) all score 20+ doesn’t hurt your odds of winning either. Thunder wins it, 114-93.
We’ll see if this is the start of something or just a fluke this weekend as the Thunder take on Detroit on Friday and Miami on Sunday.