I caught the OKC Thunder for the first time this season last night on TNT at the Portland Trailblazers. Reggie Miller was calling the game, but it was still thoroughly enjoyable, despite the Thunder blowing an early lead to go down big in the third quarter.
If I've learned anything about NBA basketball though, the good teams are the ones that are resilient. And getting two offensive boards in the expiring seconds of the fourth quarter to force overtime is certainly a sign of resilience, as is Russell Westbrook's three quarters of inspiring play (discounting the disappointing third period). In fact, Westbrook's highlight reel post-International play is nothing short of a top three point guard in the NBA (fuck you, Rondo).
One unfortunate trend that was appropriately noted by Miller and company is Kevin Durant's tendency to turn the ball over coupled with his lack of assists. Surely the two are connected, and you have to believe Durant will re-adjust to NBA play before too long. His teammate are getting it done, and sooner or later Durant will play a game in which he has as many assists as points. Go ahead and quote me one that.
One of his teammates getting it done of the bench is Dank Game favorite Serge "the Congolese Squeeze" Ibaka (it's gonna stick, just give it time to sink in). As the sixth man, Ibaka came off the bench in both halfs and provided lights out defensive play, keeping the Thunder in a game in which they gave up an atrocious number of offensive rebounds and let the 'Blazers shoot an absurdly high percentage in the second half.
More could be said about the Thunder's effort, including Jeff Green's 20+ points and Cole Aldrich's scrappy, albeit limited play (he didn't really do much, but Slim McFavorite feels like I'm supposed to be some big fan of his). But sitting at 3-2 and slowly cleaning up the mistakes, OKC next heads to Boston for their biggest game of the young NBA season (have I said fuck Rondo yet?)
*note - I'm pretty sure that picture isn't from last night's game, but I'm also pretty sure it's awesome.