Three reasons to get excited about the Thunder
Dec 15, 2013 at 9:24p ET
I don't know what these ref's have against my baby....he's the sweetest little thing ever....— Vanity Perkins (@VanityHearts5) December 16, 2013
No need to worry, but a few things to consider:
1. Orlando? Really?
Ahead by double digits most of the game, Orlando got within two points and had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds.
It didn't help that OKC had an 18-point fourth quarter, limping to the finish. The game was never in doubt until it was. Lemme explain. It sure didn't seem like the Thunder had any chance to lose, but in the final moments, "We didn't do a good job of executing down the stretch," coach Scott Brooks said. He was referring to the fact the Thunder nearly blew a 10-point lead in the final two minutes.
"I think focus was definitely lost. It's something we have to remind ourselves that there's 48 minutes of basketball. We turned it over. We didn't get good shots and we didn't get back on defense. We knew they were going to play hard."
The good news was that Orlando seemingly tried to get Jameer Nelson or Aaron Afflalo a look on the final possession, but it didn't work. Instead Glen Davis missed an off-balance, 25-footer.
"I just had to throw it up," Davis told Orlandomagic.com. "I've been pretty lucky lately with those, but I guess my luck ran out."
2. What happened to Serge?
Nikola Vucevic had an impressive 13 points and 16 rebounds. He went six-of-nine from the field He was good, but he's not better, in any way, than Serge Ibaka.
So what happened to Serge? He had four points and two rebounds in just 20 minutes. It was the first time in 13 games Ibaka didn't score in double figures. For a guy like Ibaka, who has really found his touch offensively this season (15 points per game, 9.8 rebounds) Sunday was kind of a surprise.
Ibaka started the season by scoring less than 10 points in the first three games. He has had just two games since where he's been held under 10. Can't imagine his performance against Orlando will turn into a trend.
So what's the team temperature heading into the week?
Hard to really process this, but the Magic actually cooled the Thunder down. Yeah, I know. Sounds weird, doesn't it?
After blowing out the Lakers and winning at Atlanta and Memphis, the Thunder were playing their best basketball of the year. Mix in a romp over the Pacers last week, too, and it was clear. However, even the good teams lay a big egg every once in awhile. Sunday would definitely count as that for OKC. However, the Thunder are hot.
Follow Andrew Gilman on Twitter: @andrewgilmanOK