Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant — when they’re both at their best as they were Friday night against the Lakers — don’t resemble so much a one-two punch combo as much as they do two flamethrowers. In the first half Westbrook’s 27 points and five three-pointers scorched Los Angeles at home by doing those characteristically “Russell” plays — in a good way. He sprinted down the lane and dunked on the Lakers’ front line, then he’d go over the top of a pick and roll and dial in a three. That he didn’t score another point in the entire third quarter is OK, though, because Kevin Durant (36 points) turned OKC’s first-half singeing of L.A. into a crispy finish on the Lakers. The torching rarely really ran out of fuel, similar to how the propellant for Lakers’ critics over their 9-11 start is still flowing with plenty to spare. The 114-108 finish wasn’t indicative of how far apart this game really was after the Thunder were up 18 halfway through the fourth. The Lakers didn’t fold, unlike last year’s playoff exit, and doubled up the Thunder in one fourth quarter run of 27-12. But Kobe Bryant‘s 36 points came bunched in the middle quarters. He made only one hoop in the first quarter and only one bucket after four minutes to go in the fourth. Westbrook finished with 33 points. … Rajon Rondo had not one but two chances to win the game in Philly but came up empty each time (the last looking like he rolled his ankle before he shot an airball, though). Those were, safe to say, some of the few times he erred in the city of Brotherly Love in a 95-94 loss. Rondo was a force of nature in the first half, getting 14 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, two blocks and one steal in 18 minutes. He’d finish with 16 points, 13 boards, 14 dimes, and three steals and blocks each. What he couldn’t do late Evan Turner was more than happy to execute for Philly, however. He drove hard to 14 feet with Courtney Lee on his hip and hit the pull-up jumper with 3.9 seconds left. His 26 points, 10 boards and five assists were nothing to sniff at, either. … One of the easiest plays of the night was the very first of New Orleans-Memphis, when Tony Allen jumped a passing lane for an easy steal and layup. The Hornets held tough but the Grizzlies are too tough to beat if you’re not doing everything right. Marc Gasol (15 points, nine boards) threw a gorgeous bounce dime from high post to low, a Z-Bo (15 points) bucket followed three trips later by Rudy Gay‘s three-pointer (he had 28, eight and five) dagger to go up seven. They’d win by seven, 96-89. … The road is still unkind to Washington, which is winless there after losing to Atlanta 104-95. Josh Smith‘s 23 and 15 beat out Kevin Seraphin’s 19 and seven for the Wizards. … Flipping over to watch Houston down by 33 to San Antonio was a stunner. James Harden overcame a bad shooting stretch to get 29 points but San Antonio’s 114-92 win was built in the paint, where the Spurs got 60 points including 12 from Timmy D and 15 in just 19 minutes for Tiago Splitter, which has to be some kind of record. Not to be outdone on the “where did that come from?” scale, Stephen Jackson went out and strongly hinted he wants a piece of Serge “Abaka” for tangling with Stak Jack’s main man, Metta World Peace, in the Lakers-Thunder game. … Hit the jump to hear about a crazy finish in Indianapolis. …
Smack / Dec 8, 2012 / 4:29 am
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