The Oklahoma City Thunder went into tonight’s game looking to prove just who the best team in the league is right now. Everyone collectively agreed that the scorching-hot Indiana Pacers had been that team prior to their matchup with OKC on Sunday. Their 18-2 record and outstanding play by leader Paul George earned them that respect.
After being handled thoroughly by the Thunder in a 118-94 rout, these two teams have switched role early in the 2013-14 NBA season. Most will say that OKC is now the best squad in the league, having beaten almost every title-contending team excluding the Miami Heat.
I am amazed at the how good this young and tested team is performing, especially with so many changes prior to the start of the season. There many questions looming around this organization, and the Thunder quickly answered every one of them to my surprise. I figured they’d eventually start gelling, but I didn’t see it happening this soon.
Kevin Durant deserves most of the credit for his MVP-worthy play, but no one should be overlooking the assistance being provided from unlikely sources like Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb. Also, if Russell Westbrook wasn’t as tough as he his, then he’d still be on sidelines watching his team struggle to find an identity without their star point guard on the floor.
He has had some ups and downs, but everything went his way on Sunday as he scored 26 points, dished out 13 assists and pulled down seven rebounds. The performance likely quieted all the speculation surrounding his health. It’s safe to say that he’s back.
Even though the Thunder were 14-4 prior to their monumental victory against the Pacers, they were still struggling to get everyone going at the same time. It seemed like if one player dominated, another would struggle. That was far from the case on Sunday. Along with Westbrook’s strong performance, Durant added 38 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Serge Ibaka also played well, adding 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Jackson continued to amaze with his 15 points off the bench.
For once, this team worked like a well-tuned machine. It won’t be every night that fans will be seeing stellar performances from all of their key players, but I get the feeling these type of performances will happen more often from here on out.