OKLAHOMA CITY —
It’s not like the Thunder have two terrific offensive options among their starting five and Kevin Martin coming off the bench to make 3s. They do, of course, but they really have three options among that starting five and against the Spurs you better believe they were looking for No. 3. Of Ibaka’s six first-quarter field goals, two were assisted by Durant, two by Westbrook and one each by Eric Maynor and Thabo Sefolosha.
"It gives them another aspect of their game," Duncan said. "I thought we did a pretty good job of containing guys, but he got off early."
He did, but it took his teammates looking for him and they were happy to do it.
Then there was the third quarter, when the Thunder broke it open, going from 53-48 at the half to 82-64 entering the fourth. In the middle of it were these amazing sequences that had you wondering if the nation was watching and taking notice.
First, Duncan was trying to back down in the lane only to have Westbrook come from the weakside and take the ball from him. Going the other way, Sefolosha spotted up for a 3 and missed it, but Ibaka grabbed the board, got fouled by Duncan going back up and made both free throws.
Next, Duncan was backing down again, turned for a two-foot shot only to be stuffed by Ibaka.
Less than a minute later, another Westbrook steal led to foul shots for Durant on the other end.
Less than a minute after that, Durant missed a 3, but Collison won the rebound and put it back.
The Thunder weren’t shooting the lights out, but were winning every play.
The Spurs (19-7) entered with the second best record in the NBA and beat the Thunder opening night in San Antonio by a bucket, but here they were outclassed, outgunned and outmanned. They looked beat and a quarter later they were.