By Addam Francisco
With Kevin Durant returning to the lineup after a pulled hamstring on Nov. 10 at Washington, the OKC Thunder looked near perfect out there tonight. Durant lead his team to a 111-89 thrashing of the Utah Jazz with 27 points. This young Jazz team was expected to match up well with Oklahoma City but clearly, OKC had other plans as they improve to 9-6 on the season. The way they are playing right now is the way everyone expects them to play day in and day out.
OKC seems to finally understand the term "defense creates offense," and it seems like Dion Waiters is leading that campaign. Dion had 12 points and 4 steals. Safe to say that he is a two way player now, after excelling on both ends of the court for the third straight game. His energy on the court helps frustrate and confuse opposing teams. This is a player the Thunder should consider paying this off-season.
Switching attention to the bench, having another great showing by generating 44 points. Anthony Morrow to be specific, is averaging 14.5 points and 1.5 steals the past two games and is shooting 70.8 percent from three. BILLY DONOVAN....KEEP THIS GUY ON THE COURT! He should get 15-18 minutes per game, that gives him enough time to get into the flow and actually make a difference.
Russell Westbrook did what he had to do, getting his teammates involved and got the win WITHOUT having to score 30+ points. This team is finally figuring things out by figuring out rotations, distribution of minutes, and playing players that actually make a difference. This is a better team when they share the ball and tonight in Utah, they had 22 assists. Another great sign, is efficiency. The Thunder scored 111 points off only 77 attempts, shooting 54.5 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from three. Russell and Kevin combined for 47 points off 15-of-23 shooting. Keep these stats up and we will see this squad playing deep into the summer time.
Oklahoma City wont take any extended breaks as they play the 3-11 Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday at the Peake, for the first half of a two game home-stand. Hopefully Morrow and Waiters can keep up this outstanding play off the bench, while KD and Russ keep dominating in the starting lineup.