Ball-movement wins games? OKC pushes past Dallas
By Addam Francisco
Friday night the biggest complaint surrounding this Oklahoma City Thunder team was ball-movement, with that complaint comes a low shooting percentage. Well, Sunday night against the Dallas Mavericks Oklahoma City seemed to fix that problem. Six players, including three reserves scored in double figures as the Thunder snap the Mavericks six game winning streak 117-114.
When you hear that six players scored in double figures for OKC, you automatically know that ball-movement created good, high percentage shots. Making that extra pass tonight resulted in 52.2 percent shooting from the field, 40.9 percent shooting from three, and 77.8 percent free throw shooting. Leading the team as usual was Russell Westbrook finishing with 31 points, 11 assists, 5 rebounds and 5 steals, but the focus needs to be put on OKC's supporting cast. Serge Ibaka finished with 16 points, and 9 rebounds, along with a HUGE block towards the end of the game that essentially stopped OKC from losing their second straight game. Dion Waiters also played a great game, scoring 14 points but also improved his on-ball defensive intensity, for the last two games actually. Stats don't show that, but he had one steal and forced at least three more. This is something that people don't credit, the things that don't show up in a stat book. With that being said, three of the Thunder's reserves played extraordinarily well tonight, Nick Collison is a player that's stuck with this team through thick and thin, dating all the way back when they were the Seattle Supersonics. He's gone from a starter to a reserve on the bench, but tonight he looked like old Nick, scoring 10 points and adding 5 rebounds off 4-of-6 shooting. This is a great sign, and Billy Donovan should keep this deep rotation going all year. Include Nick in a lot of these games, he's more useful than his statistics resemble. Anthony Morrow also looked like the A-Mo Oklahoma City loves to see play well, scoring 14 points off 5-of-9 shooting and 2-of-3 from three. A good sign is the fact that he's moving around, it didn't look like he was just posting up in the corner waiting on a shot, he moved around and a couple times he passed up a three pointer for a inside shot. Good signs from Morrow, hopefully he'll continue playing like he played tonight for the rest of the season. Last but not least, Enes Kanter, scoring 12 points, collecting 7 rebounds, but more importantly increasing his defensive awareness. There weren't any stats to support that, but he made multiple players adjust shots, and in result forced a missed basket.
This is what Oklahoma City likes to see, the Thunder playing unselfish ball, and applying defensive intensity. Tomorrow they will face the young and sparky 6-6 Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City for a back-to-back. Lets keep this winning streak going to extend this record to 9-6.