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News » Thunder pulls out all the stops

Thunder pulls out all the stops

Thunder pulls out all the stops
When the Thunder went back to the basics Monday night, mixing ball movement with blue-collar defense, the results came as no surprise.

Oklahoma City led by as many as 30 points before holding on for a 94-85 win over the New Jersey Nets.

The Thunder extended an 11-point halftime lead to 28 going into the fourth behind a swarming defensive attack that held the Nets to 4-for-20 shooting in the third.

New Jersey missed its first seven shots to start the third period and 11 of its first 12. The Thunder blocked three shots in the frame and hampered the Nets into three turnovers. The most impressive sequence came with 2:23 remaining when Oklahoma City's lock down defense led to a shot clock violation despite the Thunder clinching a 25-point lead.

Oklahoma City then turned its defense into offense by getting out in transition and spreading around the attack. The Thunder made 12 of 15 shots in the third period and tallied nine assists in the quarter.

"We got the stops we needed and we got the scores we needed," said Kevin Durant, who finished with a team-high 18 points. "I felt like every time down the floor we could score.

"If we control the game like we did tonight I think every game could be like this. It's the blueprint for our success."

Thunder coach Scott Brooks was disappointed in his team's desire to turn its past two games into shootouts. Oklahoma City won 122-121 on a buzzer beater at Golden State last Wednesday but saw its defensive carelessness cost it two nights later in a 107-104 loss to an injury-plagued Los Angeles Clippers squad.

The Thunder, however, held the Nets to 40 percent shooting and limited New Jersey's backcourt duo of Devin Harris and Vince Carter to 18 points on just six of 29 shots.

Oklahoma City's offense was far from efficient at just 41.1 percent shooting, but the Thunder's 18 assists on 30 made baskets led to five players in double figure scoring.

"We built a lead because we played contest-every-shot defense and we did a good job of moving the ball," Brooks said. "In that third quarter it was really good to see. We spaced the floor and guys really stayed within themselves and they did a good job."

The Thunder also reverted back to playing solid defense without fouling. After allowing 64 free throws in the past two games, the Thunder sent the Nets to the line only 18 times.

"We have to look back at this and say this is the way we have to play to win games," said Desmond Mason.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: January 29, 2009


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