“Off” nights for MVP frontrunner Kevin Durant have been few and far between this season, but the dynamic forward had one on Sunday night against the Charlotte Bobcats. Durant finished the game having shot just 8 for 24 from the field (including 0 for 6 from 3-point range), and while he scored 28 points, he needed a 12 for 12 output at the free throw line to do it. Fortunately for Oklahoma City, though, they were just fine in route to a 116-99 victory.
Durant’s chief running mate, Russell Westbrook, had easily his best game since returning from a knee injury, and the star point guard scored 26 points on 10 for 12 shooting in only 25 minutes of game time. In addition to the Westbrook and Durant show, the Thunder also got big nights from Serge Ibaka (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Reggie Jackson (17 points in 26 minutes), and it was a highly impressive display (including over 50% from the floor overall) without getting the best from their leader.
Charlotte simply couldn’t contend with the OKC offense for the majority of the night, and they didn’t do themselves any favors in containing the amount of opportunities for the Thunder. The Bobcats were dominated on the glass to the tune of 44-29, and that made an already difficult situation worse for Charlotte. Al Jefferson had another nice game here (25 points, 7 rebounds), but there weren’t a lot of bright spots for the road team.
With the win, the Thunder maintain their edge on the San Antonio Spurs for the top seed in the Western Conference, and they flashed some significant upside with their performance.