The Thunder proved that they are ready to contend for the NBA Championship with last night’s dominant performance. They didn’t just dominate any team, they dominated the Indiana Pacers, who were coming into Chesapeake Energy Arena with the NBA’s best record at 18-2.
Thunder fans had every reason to be concerned about the outcome. Even though the Thunder were coming off of a 14-point win over the Pelicans, they had let an 11-point halftime lead evaporate in Portland to the Blazers, who held the second-best record in the NBA at 16-3 after the victory over OKC. (The Blazers have gone 1-1 since.) And before that, they had nearly let an 17-point lead disappear in Sacramento before clamping down defensively to beat the Kings.
Although last night, Chesapeake Energy Arena turned into a slaughterhouse as the Thunder struck early. Although the Pacers were able to tie the game twice, 4-4 was the last tie they would see at the 9:00 mark. The Thunder sparked a 10-0 run to take a 14-4 lead with just under 6 minutes to play in the first.
From there, it only got worse for the Pacers. They never did take the lead, and the Thunder lead even grew to as high as 29 (88-59 with 1:39 to play in the 3rd). In the end, the Thunder claimed their biggest win of the season, as they beat the Pacers by a 24-point margin, 118-94. The Thunder improve to 15-4 with the victory, as the Pacers fall to 18-3.
Kevin Durant looked amazing last night with his 36-point, 10-rebound double-double. He led all players on both squads in both categories. Russell Westbrook posted the only other double-double of the night, scoring 26 points and dishing out 13 assists. Serge Ibaka was good for 13 points, and 6th man Reggie Jackson dropped 15, leading all bench scorers.
Paul George was still going to get his. He scored 32 for the evening. However, Roy Hibbert’s 12 points, and David West’s 11 points were the only other stats to reach double digits for the Pacers.
The Thunder have something to feel good about as they head out for the first of a two-game road trip. The next one emanates from Philips Arena in Atlanta, GA, as the Thunder are hosted by the 11-10 Hawks. Tip off is at 6:30 CST, and will be broadcast via Fox Sports Oklahoma, WWLS The Sports Animal, and NBA League Pass.