Sunday, November 30, 2008

Doing it from the Line

The franchise record-tying 14 game losing streak is over! The Thunder won their second game of the season and first on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies. Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 30 points and a total of six different players broke into double digits.

Memphis controlled the game early having a six point lead after the first quarter and taking an 11 point lead into the locker room at the half.OKC cut the lead down to 4 by the end of the third period before tying the game up at 94 with 5:14 remaining on a Jeff Green 3. Oklahoma City took the lead on another Green 3 pointer on their next possession. The Grizzles recaptured the lead at 100-99, but then the Thunder went on a 10-0 run and put the game away.

The Thunder shot an impressive 52.1% from the field in this game, but that was overshadowed by the 57.7% shot by the Grizzlies. In fact, the Grizzlies took two less shots but made three more buckets than the Thunder. Memphis also hit two additional three pointers (5 vs 3). So how did OKC win this game? They won it from the line. The Thunder attempted 14 more free throws and drained 16 more than their counterparts.

Russell Westbrook and Chris Wilcox made their first starts of the season as interim coach Scott Brooks continues to tinker with the lineup. Earl Watson still saw considerable playing time from the bench, but Nick Collison saw his minutes cut to almost a third of what he was playing before. Johan Petro once again didn't make it into the game.

Last night's win was huge for the Thunder not only because it stopped the 14 game skid, but also it showed that the team could rebound from a disappointing loss and still play hard. The Thunder's next three games are all on the road, but 4 of the next 5 games are against teams with losing records including a home game against the Grizzlies. The Thunder ought to be able to pull 2 wins out of those 5 games, and that would go a long way towards improving the direction of the team.

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