The Thunder do what they’re supposed to in Philly, 111-97
I have four thoughts after that game:
1. My goodness, the game got so gross and sloppy down the stretch. Not that the Sixers were actually going to come back, but they did get it down to 14 with five minutes left, with a flurry of just face-palming turnovers being the culprit. Billy Donovan called timeout, and instantly, the Thunder came out and scored seven quick ones to put things away for good.
The final tally: 20 turnovers. No doubt, against a better team the Thunder might’ve, most likely would’ve, been punished for them. But they clearly lost some focus in the fourth quarter as the game went completely ragged. I think that’s part of the Sixers gameplan — make the game sloppy and just hope the other team loses focus long enough for you to come all the way back.
2. A lot of the turnovers were a product of over-passing. The ball movement was sexy tonight, but it was also obvious how relaxed and confident the Thunder were playing the Sixers. Those two things went hand in hand. The Thunder don’t play like that all that often, making extra passes everywhere. Put them against a team they’re way better than and it’s like they suddenly want to show out.
3. Serge Ibaka rested, so Nick Collison started. The result was some Mitch McGary, as well as a healthy amount of smallball. McGary didn’t do a whole lot, but it was nice to at least see him in the rotation. The smallball was especially good, either with Durant/Adams or Durant/Kanter. It seems like it’s at its best when it’s three guards out there. Also: Good on Billy Donovan to sit Ibaka. Probably could use the rest, especially with a game tomorrow.
4. The Thunder clinched a playoff spot with the win. That’s a big whatever, I realize, but after last season it’s something you really shouldn’t completely take for granted. Last season was a reminder that it’s never a guarantee, and with the future unknown, who knows if it’s one again next season.
Next up: At the Pacers on Saturday