3 min read

The Thunder vent against the Blazers, 128-94


They do these things, like destroy the Trailblazers, that keep teasing you, that keep you thinking that there is indeed something to this team. It’s why even with the gross losses and fourth quarter struggles, it’s hard not to think down the line to the postseason and see a team at least capable of doing something.

Early, it was more of the bad same. They weren’t defending the 3-point line and there was a certain indifference to the way they were playing. And then they closed the first quarter on a 15-0 run, which extended to a 40-8 burst to take complete control of the game.

Outside of living in crippling anxiety that the Thunder would somehow manage to blow the lead, the big story became what Russell Westbrook was gonna do. He flirted with the fastest triple-double in NBA history, with his 10th rebound slipping out of his hands out of bounds. It would’ve been a first half triple-double in 16 minutes. Instead, he did it in 21, picking it up with nine minutes left in the third.

It was one of those games where you almost — ALMOST — wish the Blazers had kept it reasonably close just to see what Westbrook could’ve put up in a full night’s work. In ended up at 17-10-16 in 28 minutes.

It’s not that the Thunder desperately needed this, as much as they sort of deserved it. I’m not excusing the 4-8 record since the break, because like Westbrook said on Saturday, that’s unacceptable for this team. But they have played really well (at times). They’ve just killed themselves to prevent any feel goods from it. This sort of felt like it all came together for a night and they flashed at least a glimpse of what they can do.

“It’s easy for us to get wrapped up in going, what is it, 5-and-8 since the All-Star break,” Durant said. “But you’ve just got to enjoy every part of it. The ups and downs, just realize it could be worse. We could be out of the playoffs right now, we could be struggling. But we’ve still got a good chance and we’ve got to embrace that and know we can still strive to get better, but enjoy the journey.”

Again, this is one hame and it’s not anything concrete. We’ve learned our lesson there. As good as this one looked, the complete opposite is entirely possible — and maybe even likely — in Boston on Wednesday. Like Billy Donovan has said, the good stuff can be fleeting, and turn bad again before you know it.


  • Enes Kanter has some crazy offensive skill. That euro-step out of a dead sprint was something else for a 6-11, 260-pound guy. And then he went for that behind-the-back move on the break.
  • Kanter’s 21-minute shift tonight: 26 points on 9-15 shooting (he started 1-4 by the way) and seven rebounds.
  • The Blazers hit four 3s in the first six minutes. Then they missed their nine. And only hit three of their last 19.
  • Donovan went with an extended look of smallball with a Durant/Kanter combo in the frontcourt. Really strong offensive look to it, and it completely destroyed the Blazers.
  • There were a lot odd lineups in this one. At one point — and it was only for one possession — the Thunder had Westbrook, Payne, Foye, Morrow and Kanter in the game.
  • We had a Serge-Ibaka-can-still-shoot sighting! He hit 7-10, and looked much smoother and more confident with the midrange jumper.
  • I like to think Nick Collison sleeps in his white sleeved jersey.
  • Durant got his 52nd straight of 20 points and it was kind of a close one. This is the type of game you come up short. He hit a jumper right before he subbed out.
  • Naturally, Randy Foye played really well tonight. He had 11 on 4-6 shooting, including 3-3 from 3.
  • Little different on the sub pattern for Durant. He had a longer run in the first quarter, coming out at the four-minute mark instead of the six.
  • I swear teams keep signing Brian Roberts just for garbage time. Like just bring him in to mop up games, score a few buckets and reduce your margin of defeat a little bit.
  • Lillard got way hot in the last meeting, of course, but Westbrook just eats him alive historically.
  • Cameron Payne made his triumphant return to the rotation tonight. He looked pretty hesitant to shoot, really focusing on passing and moving.
  • Dion Waiters joined the Thunder on the bench in the second half. He will practice tomorrow and likely be available for Wednesday’s game.
  • Really a shame Josh Huestis was inactive. Could’ve been his moment.
  • The Thunder are 12-0 when Westbrook triple-doubles.

Next up: at the Celtics on Wednesday