Dec 26, 2011, 1:07 AM EDT
This game went pretty much like everyone expected.
The Oklahoma City Thunder looked like the contenders with Kevin Durant playing like an MVP candidate, the team playing balanced on offense and showing real depth with their second unit.
The Magic just looked confused. Dwight Howard looked off.
In the end that led to a blowout. It was a 97-89 final, but that was not indicitive of how convincing a win this was for Oklahoma City, which was up 18 after three.
Oklahoma City basically relied on the same system Atlanta used to knock Orlando out of the playoffs last year — if you have a big man who can defend Howard one-one-one and keep him in check you can shut down the Magic. Kendrick Perkins held Howard to 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting. The Thunder closed out at the arc and held the Magic to 28.6 percent from three. That’s your ballgame.
I’m not sure we learned anything new here. We knew the Thunder were contenders and they looked the part. We had questions about the Magic and how the team would be built, how they and Howard would deal with the swirling trade rumors, and it didn’t look good.
One game does not a season make, but both teams lived up to expectations on Christmas.
- Five Things We Learned in NBA Sunday: Dwyane Wade is going to will Heat into playoffs 0
- Sad news: Craig Sager announces his cancer has returned 8
- NBA players’ union head believes new labor deal can be reached without a work stoppage 9
- Kendrick Perkins says you’re blowing the LeBron James/Kevin Love thing way out of proportion 20
- Mark Cuban rips officials, NBA: ‘It’s criminal’ how Monta Ellis doesn’t get calls 25
- Shaquille O’Neal says he regrets leaving Magic for Lakers 43
- Cavaliers coach David Blatt: ‘LeBron James is our MVP’ 22
- No Durant, what does that mean for Thunder in these playoffs? Trouble. 15