Posts Tagged ‘Oklahoma City Thunder’
The Oklahoma City Thunder, owners of the best record in the league at 42-12, come to the Staples Center this evening to take on the 18-34 Los Angeles Lakers.
The Basketball Gods have been merciless on the storied franchise, and it has taken a horrible toll. The 16-time NBA Champs have lost 21 of their last 26 games.
The Lakers now sit in a virtual tie with Sacramento for the Western Conference’s worst record. In addition, coach Mike D’Antoni’s squad has lost their past six home contests.
With a loss tonight, this Lakers group will set a mark for the most straight home defeats. The franchise has not endured seven consecutive losses since moving to SoCal in 1960.
Injuries have plagued The Lake Show this season. Los Angeles continues to play without five of its key performers: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Nick Young, Jodie Meeks and Xavier Henry. Jordan Farmar has also missed 19 of the last 20 games, and Steve Nash will be sidelined yet again after exiting against Utah due to issues with his leg and back.
When the Purple & Gold played Tuesday night, they were bludgeoned by the woeful Jazz, 96-79. Eleventh-year center Chris Kaman led the team with 25 points and 14 boards.
The Lakers and Thunder last met on December 13th in the Sooner State. KD and company drubbed LA 122-97, outscoring the Lakers in every quarter. Durant, now the clear frontrunner for the 2014 NBA MVP, went for 31 points, 8 boards, 5 dimes and 4 steals in the one-sided affair. It was just Kobe’s third game back from injury, and he scored only 4 points, but managed to dish out 13 assists. Pau Gasol had 14 and 7 boards in the loss.
The surging Thunder have gone 14-2 over their last 16, including a 98-95 hard-fought W in Portland on Tuesday night. KD was his usual unstoppable self, hitting for 36 points and 10 boards. Second-year SG Jeremy Lamb came off the bench to add a crucial 19 points on 8-11 shooting.
Tune in to TNT tonight at 10:30 PM ET to see if Los Angeles, playing the unfamiliar role of struggling underdog, can stop OKC’s winning ways and prevent a dubious home loss mark.
The Thunder’s newly anointed ‘Slim Reaper’ Kevin Durant is on an amazing streak even for him. The one-time Texas Longhorn has scored over 30 points in each of the last 12 contests, something not done since T-Mac went 14 games over 30 in the ’02-’03 campaign. KD is averaging 38 ppg over this span of a dozen 48s.
Without PG Russell Westbrook, Durant’s sizzling play has led OKC to a nine-game winning streak, longest in the Association.
Coach Scott Brooks’ guys went to South Beach on Wednesday night to play the defending champs and came away with a 112-95 W after trailing early by 18 points. PF Serge Ibaka poured in 20 points and the second-oldest player in the league, Derek Fisher, had a season-best 15 points in the Sunshine State victory.
Even with the Thunder’s spectacular play of late, no team in the NBA has less than 3 losses in January except for the Brooklyn Nets. The 20-23 Nets are 10-2 this month with both defeats administered by the Toronto Raptors.
In fact, Brooklyn last played on Monday night when Toronto ended their 5-game winning streak with a 104-103 home loss. Paul Pierce shot for a season-high 33 points, but missed a tough 3-bomb at the buzzer.
These two sides matched up on January 2nd in Oklahoma City with Brooklyn earning their best win of the season to that point. The Nets’ team D kept KD from going off, holding him to only 24 points. In fact, since Xmas, this was one of only 2 occasions that the NBA scoring leader failed to break 30. Not only did coach Jason Kidd’s team play tough D, but they came back from a 10-point deficit in the final seven minutes and won 95-93 when Joe Johnson’s jumper at the buzzer connected. In addition, PG Deron Williams scored a season-high 29 points in the Sooner State upset.
Tune in to YES Network at 8PM ET to see if Brooklyn can come away with the win against an OKC team that has yet to lose on the road to an Eastern Conference foe.
When 3X NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook put up a triple-double in a Christmas day thrashing of the Knicks at MSG, Oklahoma City fans surely thought their super-athletic ringleader was close to 100% after two off-season right knee surgeries.
However, just two days later it was announced that Westbrook had arthroscopic surgery on that same knee and would be sidelined until the All-Star break.
The Boston College product had performed admirably in the 2013 Playoffs after Westbrook was injured. 23-year-old Jackson played in all 11 postseason contests and started 9 of them. In those 11 games, he averaged 13.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg and 3.6 apg while shooting 48% from the field and an impressive 90% from the line.
So far in the 2013-14 campaign, Jackson has played in all 43 games and started all 18 since Westbrook’s most recent surgery.
Forced into a very difficult role in the PG-heavy Western Conference, Jackson has made great strides, and his game has matured. “Mr. OKCtober” appears very comfortable at the helm, understanding there are nights when he needs to distribute the ball and nights when he needs to pick up the scoring slack.
In the month of January, Jackson has averaged 16.1 ppg, 4.6 apg, 3.7 rpg and 1.7 spg in 32.7 mpg. He has season highs of 27 points (2X), 8 dimes (2X), 7 boards (4X) and 6 steals.
OKC’s Reggie Jackson might not be the straw that stirs the Thunder’s drink like the former NY Yankee, but he is a valuable asset on a championship-driven squad. Jackson has earned Coach Scott Brooks’ confidence, and he will continue to build on the experience he’s gained and the assurance he’s developed. So even after Jackson is relegated back to the pine once Westbrook returns, look for this up-and-comer to continue to get 25-30 minutes of action a night.