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Thunder Polish off the Mavs 87-83.

Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

Kendrick Perkins had 9 points and 8 rebounds as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Dallas Mavericks 87-83 to finish undefeated in preseason play.  James Harden led the Thunder in scoring with 13 points as the scoring was spread all around. Two time scoring champion, Kevin Durant finished with 10 pointson 4 of 9 shooting, 5 rebounds 2 assists and 2 steals in just 19 minutes.

Mavericks weren’t in the game for the most part in the second half. Thunder built a lead as high as 23 points before the Mavs started to climb back into it. Mavericks made a furious run in the final 2 minutes to get the lead down four points. However, due to it just being preseason, the Mavs elected not to foul and let the clock run out.

Turnovers: B

Thunder only had 17 turnovers in this ball game. I say only because most of these were when the Thunder had a 20 point lead late in the ball game. First half the Thunder had 7 turnovers. They were not just careless passing like in the first game. These were to a point, the production of a decent Mavericks defense.

Interior Defense: A+

Yeah, the Thunder gave up 36 points in the paint. However, look what they did to Dirk Nowitzki and Brenden Haywood. 2 for 11, only 8 rebounds, -36 total and six combined points. Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich did great on the forwards of the Mavericks. I was very impressed in their ability to play off the ball defense against them. When they got the ball, they were very physical. It’s something that got Dirk out of a rhythm early. It was very obvious that Oklahoma City worked on the defense of dirk a bit in training camp. Ibaka was really trying to deny him the ball early on, and it worked for the most part.

Halfcourt offense: B

It wasn’t too bad for the most part. Late in the game when the reserves had fully taken their spots on the field. It was just a perimeter offense. Which, can be expected. They were playing in a blowout. However, Second-third quarters, the Thunder really were able to score when in their offense. Had multiple 10-0 or more runs in those quarters.  It will be something to watch for as the season continues.

This was a good game to go out on for the Thunder. The crowd was into it. It was defnitely a regular season type of crowd. I loved the enthusiasm. Also, the new court. It’s going to be a very successful season for the Thunder. Championship or bust in my book.

Real quick on Russell Westbrook. He played great in his 19 minutes. Stat line was decent. 5-8, 12 points, 3 assists, rebounds, 3 steals and 3 turnovers. Solid across the board in my mind. He really ran the offense at his speed. It was obvious that Jason Kidd had trouble keeping up with him.

Kendrick Perkins was on it. Yeah, I mentioned his stat line. However, he was just dominate, intimidating, and down right offensive at times. When I say offensive, I don’t mean he offended people. (He probably did). I’m talking about on the offensive end. The reverse dunk? The pump fake, drive to the glass and a reverse layup? You have to be kidding me. This guy is a monster. Color me impressed.

One last thing about the Mavericks. They looked old. They looked a step slow. I know it’s just preseason and so many players go half speed. However, they didn’t look like defending champs. The five spot is going to be very interesting this year. Brenden Haywood is a decent reserve center. They’ll be very active in the trade department this year trying to secure a center. If they do not, I don’t know if they can beat the Thunder in a series.

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