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1.14 The Cooler

Westbrook, Durant lead Thunder in shootout win over Magic

By 01.14.11
Russell Westbrook (photo. Jeff Forney)

Russell Westbrook (photo. Jeff Forney)

Is there a way David Stern can schedule Orlando vs. Oklahoma City every night? If not, can he at least just give us the Thunder seven nights a week? We can’t be alone when we say they get more exciting as the team gets better. Orlando combined with OKC last night for some serious fireworks … Behind spectacular games from Russell Westbrook (32 points, 10 rebounds, 13 assists) and Kevin Durant (36 points) — who abused whomever Orlando checked them with — the Thunder led throughout and answered every run the Magic tried to make. Dwight Howard (39 points, 18 rebounds) dominated, but it wasn’t enough as OKC won in a 125-124 shootout. Unluckily for the Magic, the two types of players they absolutely can’t defend are big, physical point guards and stretch forwards … Early in the game, Reggie Miller suggested the reason why the Thunder are so much further along than other young teams is because they have actual superstars rather than good players. Westbrook was a flat-out stud, scoring from 15 feet and in all night long, making Jameer Nelson look like Kevin Hart (short) and Gilbert Arenas look like Gilbert Gottfried (old and slow). Meanwhile, Durant went off for 16 points in the first quarter, then resurfaced later to make a floater over Howard and two free throws to ice the win … Though people have been wanting Dwight to get more mean for years, it is kind of odd to see him actually frustrated and yelling at teammates. He never used to be like that. It’s good in a way — developing that cliche “hard-ass” exterior makes it so the media can’t say you’re not a leader. But it just doesn’t seem like his personality … Howard should be ticked at his teammates, though. We’ve never seen a big man who is so good get so consistently ignored in the post and consistently receive the ball too late. There were four or five times last night when Howard had the seal in the lane and didn’t get the ball. When your best passes to the big man are spin-out lobs, something isn’t right. Even with his astronomical numbers, Howard could’ve done more damage …Read More >>

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