Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Answer to the Question

What looked to be another 4th quarter collapse nearly turned into the highlight win Oklahoma City has been working so hard to achieve. Instead Allen Iverson carried Detroit to a last-second victory over the Thunder and cemented his place as one of the NBA's biggest clutch players.

AI's bucket prevented OKC from stealing the game after an impressive showing in the final 12 minutes. When the Pistons jumped out in front by double digits, the Thunder stormed back behind a 13-0 run. Kevin Durant tied the contest at 86, and the dramatic ending sealed another franchise loss to Detroit, the eighth in a row.

Poor free throw shooting plagued the visiting Thunder, and neither club had success on the outside. Durant led all scorers with 26 points, but he was not able to overcome the balanced attack of the Pistons.

If the first part of the back-to-back games was emotional, tonight's homecoming for Durant and Jeff Green will take it to another level. Washington plays the host role although the spotlight will be on the pair of D.C. bred ballers.

It is also a strong chance for a Thunder victory, as the Wizards are stuck in an eight-game losing streak. Injuries have taken a toll on both squads, but the big story is how well OKC rebounds following the Detroit contest.

Unless there is a serious letdown by the Thunder, victory number four should be in the works. Russell Westbrook could use another strong outing, and the new rotation played harder than in past games. Damien Wilkins did not see action against the Pistons, but rookie Kyle Weaver did. Nick Collison was also held out of his second straight game and look for Joe Smith to continue the starting role in his absence.

A tough stretch welcomes OKC back at the Ford Center, and this is the perfect opportunity for Coach Brooks' squad to make a statement. The T-Wolves did their part on Friday, knocking off the Knicks, and it is up to Durant and Co. to follow suit. Time for all that hard work to pay off and to show the rest of the league how much improved the Thunder are.

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