11/24/12 – In Saturday night's game the Sixers had maybe their toughest test so far this season against the defending Western Conference champs, the Oklahoma City Thunder. With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, they pose one of the most dangerous scoring duos in the league. The Sixers would have to show up defensively in order to slow down the league's 2nd highest scoring offense. On offense, Philly would have to get started fast. In Wednesday's loss to the Cavs, they had an incredibly slow start and despite a 4th quarter comeback they couldn't take the lead. A fast start was essential tonight.
With Lavoy Allen in the starting lineup tonight, the Sixers finally got off to a good start. They made 5 of their first 7 and had an early lead. However, the dangerous Thunder responded with a 9-0 run to take the lead. Westbrook stood out early for OKC and had almost half their points in the 1st. At the end of 1, the Thunder led 29-21. In the 2nd the Sixers started to slump and had a stretch where they went 1 of 12. OKC extended their lead to 10 before Coach Collins called timeout. But then the Sixers made a run of their own led by Thad Young, Jason Richardson, and Evan Turner. A 10-4 sprint brought them to within 1 point at the half, down 50-49. For the Sixers, they played a good half. Jrue Holiday had 10 assists and they led in rebounding. They had to do a better job defending OKC in the paint. In the 2nd half the Thunder came out rolling. They went on a 12-2 run to grab a lead, insisting on driving to the hoop and drawing fouls. They seemed to be getting all of the calls tonight. The Sixers responded with a 9-2 run led by Thad who had a career night. After 3 OKC still led 85-79. In the 4th quarter the Sixers stepped up big time defensively. The two teams went back and forth, until the Sixers and a Thad Young deuce were able tie up the game. In the closing moments of a tie game, the Sixers had a chance to win it. Lavoy Allen missed a wide open jumper from the foul line, then later Dorrell Wright a wide open 3 and the game went to OT. In the extra period, the Thunder showed why they're one of the league's best. Three 3 pointers from Durant, Kevin Martin, and Thabo Sefolosha sealed the deal. The Sixers fell in a hard fought effort, 116-109.
1. Thad Young – 44:22 mins., 29 pts., 15 rebs., 4 asts., 1 stl., 1 blk., 3 TOs
2. Turner – 41:13 mins., 26 pts., 5 rebs., 4 asts., 2 stls., 2 TOs
3. J-Rich – 18:04 mins., 13 pts., 1 reb., 1 stl., 2 TOs
4. D Wright – 33:15 mins., 9 pts., 6 rebs., 2 asts., 2 stl., 1 TO
5. Swag Young – 25:04 mins., 9 pts., 4 rebs., 3 asts., 1 blk.
6. Lavoy – 28:17 mins., 8 pts., 4 rebs., 3 asts., 1 stl., 2 blks., 2 TOs
7. Hawes – 19:20 mins., 7 pts., 3 rebs., 2 asts., 1 TO
8. Jrue – 36:39 mins., 6 pts., 3 rebs., 13 asts., 2 TOs
9. Kwame – 8:24 mins., 2 pts., 2 rebs., 1 TO
10. Wayns – 6:23 mins., 1 TO
11. Wilkins – 3:59 mins.
Kevin Durant – 37 pts., 8 rebs., 5 asts., 4 stls., 3 blks., 2 TOs **** Player of the Game
Russell Westbrook – 30 pts., 5 rebs., 9 asts., 2 stls., 1 blk., 3 TOs
Serge Ibaka – 18 pts., 9 rebs., 2 asts., 1 TO
Nick Collison – 14 pts., 5 rebs., 1 TO
Tonight's game was a lot of fun to watch. The Sixers played really hard and improved tonight against a very good team. The offense seemed to flow better than usual, and they shot a respectable 50%. Turner and Thad had great games. And the Sixers actually won the rebound battle. These things are all positives and they should've won the game tonight, if not for two late misses. * J-Rich also re-sprained his ankle tonight and didn't return. This could be a problem, as he's been really playing well.
The difference in the game was at the free throw line. The Thunder lead the league in free throw attempts and percentage. Tonight they made an astounding 32-37 versus the Sixers a mere 12-17. The refs definitely favored the Thunder in a big way, but at the same time the Sixers need to make an effort to get the line more often. Another big difference in the game was offense rebounds. The Thunder had 18 o-rebounds that resulted in more than 20 second chance points. For the Sixers to beat a team of the stature of OKC they need to improve in these areas. With only a quick rest, the Sixers need to bounce back to tomorrow against the Phoenix Suns. Game's at 6 p.m. @ the Wells Fargo. CSN. More to come…
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