When I gave last night’s Thunder-Nuggets game one of my coveted DVR slots, I knew I was probably recording a schedule loss. Denver was on the second night of a back-to-back, having traveled from Denver to OKC after an overtime win over Portland. Oklahoma City was coming off a rest day, and Serge Ibaka was back in the lineup after missing two games with a chest contusion.
Still: Games between these teams have massive entertainment potential, and there is some chippiness dating to an underrated first-round series — a five-game OKC win — in 2011.
Oklahoma City indeed blew away Denver with terrifying ease — transition buckets, enough offensive rebounds to push George Karl into using his two-center lineup, a festival of Russell Westbrook jumpers, and Kevin Durant being mean for a bit before doing some distributing. Durant is mean every night, but Westbrook’s shooting has been a bit of a wild card. His shooting numbers are slowly trending the right way after a horrid start, but he’s still at about 35 percent on mid-range shots after hitting about 41 percent last season, per NBA.com. The Thunder are so good at this point, on both ends of the floor, that on nights Westbrook makes even half his jumpers, the other team may as well forfeit.