The Oklahoma City Thunder dropped just their fifth contest of the 2013-14 NBA season and just their second game of December on this past Sunday, falling in a close one to the Toronto Raptors. Though the Thunder have been one of the most successful teams in the league this season overall, there’s also no denying that they’ve been dominant over this month.
Throughout December, the Thunder have the best net rating in the NBA in terms of offensive and defensive efficiency as they have outscored their opponents by 10.4 points per 100 possessions. They rank near the top of the league overall in that regard also, but it’s clear that the Thunder have hit an extra gear in December.
Point guard Russell Westbrook has been a huge factor in the Thunder’s recent surge as a team. Westbrook has finally found his comfort-zone after returning from a knee injury just three games into the season. However, what can’t be discredited is how star forward Kevin Durant has turned it up a notch in December.
While Durant was solid in the first month of the season, he wasn’t playing nearly as efficiently offensively as he did last season when he joined the 50/40/90 club of shooting percentages. In November, KD was shooting only 44.8 percent from the floor and just 36.2 percent from three. Moreover, even his free-throw percentage had dipped a bit with him hitting 87.2 percent from the charity stripe.
In December, though, Durant has come out firing on all cylinders and benefitting from the strong playmaking ability of Westbrook and OKC’s offense clicking. Thus far in December, Durant is shooting 53.3 percent from the floor, 49.1 percent from long-range and 90.2 percent from the line. Moreover, he’s been able to put up the same counting averages, but the fact that he’s been doing so with such efficiency has given the Thunder a boost.
Heading into a Christmas Day game against the New York Knicks, a team with a porous defense, the Thunder will more than likely keep rolling. The real question will be beyond Wednesday’s game when we see if Durant can continue this pace and become a two-time member of the 50/40/90 club.