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Second is First, Backups Key in OKC’s 118-110 win

With James Harden out with concussion like symptoms, it was up to everyone else to pick up the slack. That’s exactly what happened. Oklahoma City trailed by four points going into the fourth quarter, then Daequan Cook checked in. Cook scored 19 fourth quarter points, leading Oklahoma City to the 118-110 victory. The win puts Oklahoma City at 47-18 overall, and 26-6 at home.

The Kings really thrived off a huge first quarter, where they went out and scored 40 points. Oklahoma City kept pace for the most part, scoring 35.  The Kings made 18 of 22 shots in the first quarter (82%) to pull the five point lead. However, the Thunder were 11 of 18 in that first quarter.

The Kings had a big first half, leading by as many as 13 points, led 59-57 at the break. Oklahoma City closed the first half on a 20-9 run, where we saw six different Thunder players score points during the run.

Oklahoma City, locked into the #2 seed in the Western Conference, Coach Scott Brook elected to rest his starters in the fourth quarter, while trailing. Derek Fisher and Cook really led the charge in the fourth quarter. Cook single handedly took the lead back from the Thunder by scoring the first 14 points of the quarter.

It wasn’t a for sure thing until Royal Ivey hit a shot with 3 minutes to go to put Oklahoma City on top 104-102. Big man, Cole Aldrich, was able to hit his free throws to close it out.

Kevin Durant extended his lead over Kobe Bryant in a very tight scoring race. Durant led by .05 points coming into tonight’s contest. Durant is averaging 27.97 points per game to Bryant’s 27.86 with each having one game left.

Post Game Grades

Turnovers: B+
Oklahoma City had 12 turnovers heading into the fourth quarter, trailing by four points. Oklahoma City commited just two turnovers, and it was very key in their come back in this game. For the most part, decent ball control.

Pick Up the Scoring: A+
Daequan Cook, Derek Fisher, Thabo Sefolosha, and Kendrick Perkins all finished in double figures in absence of James Harden. Very big plays by all the players mentioned in trying to cover for Harden while he recovers.

Three Point Shooting: B+
Thank you Daequan Cook. Cook was phenomenal tonight from three-point range. He finished 4-of-7 from three-point range and it really led the fourth quarter charge tonight.

Thunder Thoughts

  • Derek Fisher stole Daequan Cook’s minutes, that’s obvious. However, Daequan cook scored the same amount of points tonight than he had scored in his previous six games (19 points in previous six games).
  • Kevin Durant was great tonight. It’s hard to believe someone stole the show from him. He might have scored 45 had he played all four quarters, but it’s good to see a player like him get rest.
  • Is our second team really better than the King’s first team? I would say that’s hard to believe, but as the saying goes… “The ball does not lie.” The fourth quarter was very telling, not to mention in the second quarter, when the Thunder made their run to get back in the game, the second team was back in the game.
  • If you didn’t know, Metta World Peace received a seven game suspension. I’ll have more on this tomorrow.
  • Really, what is up with Russell Westbrook, did he just blow it all in March? While, I’m glad he did what he did in March, would have loved for him to save it for the playoffs. Maybe the rest will do him some good. The guy goes 1000 mph every time.
  • Thabo Sefolosha seems to be gaining his form before his injury. Thabo finished with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 2-of-3 from downtown. He’s shooting 43.3% from three-point range this season. Had he kept on pace and not been injured, Thabo would be a top 10 three-point shooter.
  • Oklahoma City is now 22-6 in games where they have 20 or more assists.
  • Probably not a lot of missed shots to rebound, but the Thunder just thumped the Kings on the boards, out rebounding them by nine, 43-34.
  • That said, the Kings had 60 points in the paint. That’s just absurd.
  • Oklahoma City had their 24th game when shooting 90% or better from the free throw line. That’s easily the best in the NBA, by four games. Oklahoma City will finish with the League’s best free throw percentage for the third straight year.

Next up:  Home vs. Denver for season Finale

 

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