Durant has triple-double, Thunder beat Wolves
OKLAHOMA CITY — You saw Kevin Durant do what he does.
Another triple-double Sunday – this one a 32-point, 10 rebound, career-best 12 assists, as well as four steals and four blocks showing– helped the Thunder to a 113-103 win against Minnesota.
“It was cool,” Durant said. “I wish I could have made a few more shots. My teammates made me look good a few times.”
The victory gave the Thunder six wins in six home games on this stand, nine wins in a row at home to start the season, which is a franchise record, and seven wins in a row overall.
Here a few other things you might have noticed, but are definitely worth talking about, as the Thunder go on a three-game, four day road trip:
Derek Fisher dominated Kevin Martin
You might remember Kevin Martin as the guy the Thunder got in a trade with Houston before the season started a year ago. Martin showed up in Oklahoma City, never got comfortable and never was a starter, which was a role he was accustomed to in every season before last year.
Well, he’s a starter again and he was great. Then Derek Fisher guarded him to start the fourth quarter.
Martin was 6-of-16 for the game, but zero-for-four in the fourth quarter when the Thunder outscored Minnesota 35-20. Oklahoma City started the quarter on a 10-0 run and Martin missed the first two shots of the quarter.
“He changed the way Kevin Martin was thinking,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “It was sheer determination. He did a great job.”
“You can feel when you are making a difference,” Fisher said. “Great scorers, you’re not going to shut them out, but make him aware he wasn’t going to get anything easy. That’s what I was trying to do.”
Fisher has played so long it seems like he only has good games left. He was sensational again Sunday in a reserve role and his night was summed up in one great sequence in the fourth quarter.
With the Thunder trailing by five to start the fourth quarter, Martin tried to get by Fisher, but settled for a 14-foot turnaround jump shot, which he missed. On the other end, Fisher set a perfect screen for Durant on Corey Brewer and Durant made a 25-footer. Simple as that. After another Martin miss, Oklahoma City’s Jeremy Lamb made a 3-pointer and the Thunder led for the first time all game.
How bout that Reggie Jackson?
“You always want to play tough and aggressive basketball for 48 minutes,” Brooks said. “We didn’t’ do it tonight. We have to play much better going on the road.”
The Thunder should consider doing it at home, too. For the fifth time in nine home games, the Thunder trailed heading into the fourth quarter. By this time you know the Thunder have won all five.
But did you know for the second time in the past three home games, Reggie Jackson has been the reason why?
He scored 25 points on 11-of-12 shooting combined against the Spurs and the T-Wolves in the fourth quarter alone. Sunday against the Wolves, Jackson went 8-for-11 , scored 18 points, had five rebinds and four assists.
This is the arrival of Jackson. He’s playing himself into consideration for the best bench player in the league. He says he’s just having fun.
“I just made a few shots and had some fun,” Jackson said. “Basketball is always supposed to be fun. Just go out there. Express yourself. Do you. Have fun.”
This bench got a lot better in the last two weeks
Maybe it was the home games and the extra practice, but man, this bench play is much improved.
The big question for the Thunder this season was who was going to be that consistent third scorer. Oklahoma City might have answered that with the ascension of Serge Ibaka, who was great again on Sunday, getting three blocks to go along with 15 points and eight rebounds.
But the Thunder also have seemingly answered their bench issues, too. There’s no James Harden and there’s no Kevin Martin, meaning it might be different people coming off the bench in a different order each night, but with Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Jackson asserting themselves once again, there seems to be some real positives happening.
The two combined for 27 points on 12-of-19 shooting against the Timberwolves. More importantly, both played crucial fourth-quarter minutes.
“Just being together, playing together, moving the ball. Easy shots,” Lamb said. “We all can knock down shots. Playing together is the biggest part of it.”
The two were great against the Spurs, too, and like we’re all seeing, no one on the team is better than Jackson about getting to the rim, creating a shot and creating some offense.
This has been a good development for Oklahoma City.
Follow Andrew Gilman on Twitter: @andrewgilmanOK