Thursday, November 13, 2008

Game 8 Recap: Orlando 109, Oklahoma City 92

NOBODY INSULTS THE TIE!

Yahoo! Box Score

What can I say? It was quite an unforgettable performance by the Thunder, who were the biggest under-dog in the NBA last night and were able to back it up with a sound thrashing. I mean, all you have to know to grasp the beating was 1) Kevin Durant didn't play, 2) Dwight Howard had his first career triple double, and 3) Both Steven Hill and Mouhamed Sene were in the game.

The whole game is kind of a blur to be honest with you. It was all the same, from start to finish really, thorough domination of the Thunder all the way through. Kevin Durant playing would have made no difference at all. Talent-wise, the Magic dominate us and Dwight Howard was playing like a man possessed. Who really has a triple-double on blocks anymore? Ha, well, Dwight Howard apparently. Without Kevin Durant, this really isn't even an NBA team.

Really, the game itself isn't really worth talking about, even. We all know how the Thunder vomit all over themselves night in and night out; and this game is just more than that times 10. However, one positive of KD not playing is that it takes a shadow off the rest of the team's players. Let's see what we've learned about his anonymous team mates...

If any sort of positive can be drawn from this, it's that we now know that Jeff Green is legit. He was the leading Thunder scorer in the game and despite being the team's new number one option was able to continue his efficient shooting. I used to think that KD was the only real "cornerstone" the Thunder had to work with, everyone else being expendable. Now, I think that Jeff Green can be thought of in the same regard.

What did we learn about Desmond Mason as a starter? Well, we learned he was certainly suitable for the role when called upon. His performance was somewhat redeeming for last games Thunder Blunder caliber play. Still, he should stick to the bench, the only starter who needs replacement is Petro.

What did we learn about Russel Westbrook receiving extended minutes. Well, we learned he can do a variety of things on the floor, with 5 rebounds and four assists. He certainly hasn't gotten any better shooting from the field, but this is somewhat misleading as his offensive style is one where he tries to draw the foul. And in that regard, he was finally able to make his free throws, shooting 8-9.

What did we learn about Damien Wilkins, who finally got extended minutes for the first time since the Pre-Season? Well, uh, I guess we found out it wasn't the pre-season anymore. 2 points off 1-6 shooting and 4 boards. All that in a hefty 18 minutes of play.

Robert Swift's new 'do didn't help his offensive game any

And lastly, what did we learn about the useless 7 footers on our roster? Well, we were able to confirm that they suck. Hill, Sene, and Swift combined for about 24 minutes last night, for a combined 6 points, 12 rebounds, 0 assists, and 2 blocks. Even if you throw Johan Petro's 8 points and 2 rebounds in there, that's still combined for far less that one man (Dwight Howard) had for the magic tonight.

So, for tonight's Thunder Wonder, I'm going with the guy I praised earlier, Jeff Green. 25 points of 7-18 shooting, 10 rebounds, 3-6 from downtown, 8-10 free throws. He is clearly the second best offensive option on this team.

Thunder Down Under is...not Joe Smith for once! No, instead tonight we're going with Desmond Mason, getting some sweet redemption. He had 12 points off 5-11 shooting and 2 rebounds. Obviously couldn't fill the void that KD left, but not a bad performance by any stretch.

Thunder Blunder? God, just pick a player at random and you could almost certainly make a case for it. Sadly I'm going to go with Damien Wilkins. He certainly hasn't played up to potential this year, that is, when he plays at all. Like I said earlier, only 2 points and 1-6 field goals.

I'll give you three guesses at tonight's Thunder Plunderer. J.J. Reddick? Nope. Adonal Foyle? Sorry Zorgon, not him either. Dwight Howard? YEAH! Comeon, one of the best games in what is sure to be a fabulous career for the center. 30 points, 19 rebounds, and 10 blocked shots! He was a man among boys last night.

Next Game: Nov. 14 at the Knicks

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