Thunder "D-Up" The Bobcats
In the first half Sunday night it looked like the same old Thunder defensive struggles were back. The Charlotte Bobcats, having ripped the nets in their three previous games to the tune of 37.3 percent, shot 54.1 percent and scored 55 points in the first 24 minutes at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
That all changed in the second half.
The Thunder locked down the Bobcats, especially in the fourth quarter when they shot just 30.8 percent and won 116-99.
Russell Westbrook had his best game of the season, scoring 26 points on 10-for-12 (83 percent) shooting. He started the game hitting his first eight shots.
"I thought Russell really had great command of the game," said Thunder head coach Scott Brooks. He controlled everything we did."
Kevin Durant finished as the game's leading scorer with 28 points, even though he didn't have one of his better shooting nights, just 8-for-24.
Durant has now scored at least 25 points in 25 straight games, only the third time that's happened in the last 25 years.
Serge Ibaka had his 21st double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds and Reggie Jackson came up bitt with 17 points off the bench.
Brooks changed things up tonight, playing everyone who was available in the first half. That number is down to just 11 now with the news that Thabo Sefolosha will be out for the next four to six weeks with a strained left calf.
Brooks opted to start Perry Jones III in Thabo's spot instead of rookie Andre Roberson. Jones finished with four points and a couple of assists. Brooks plans to tinker with that position and could start Jones, Roberson, Jeremy Lamb or even newly acquired Caron Butler at some point.
Butler was having travel troubles getting to Oklahoma City because of the winter storm but team officials were hoping he'd get in and be able to be at the practice facility on Monday.
The Thunder led by just two points two minutes into the fourth quarter, but over the next eight minutes OKC went on a 27-9 run capped off by Westbrook blocking a shot from Jefferson, grabbing the ball and drilling a 3-pointer at the other end. And on the next Charlotte possession Derek Fisher stole the ball and passed to Ibaka who also nailed a three.
The Thunder will practice Monday then get ready for the 76ers who'll be in here on Tuesday.