Dec 26, 2011, 1:07 AM EST
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.
- Pacers win first Conference Finals rematch vs. Heat 9
- Days before he faced LeBron, Paul George said Durant is NBA’s toughest cover 23
- A day later, Kobe didn’t think he played quite so bad 12
- Why question “When did basketball get so bad?” misses mark 53
- Adam Silver: NBA to consider doing away with divisions 21
- Dwight Howard frustrated with Rockets’ effort in recent losses (54)
- Why question “When did basketball get so bad?” misses mark (53)
- Durant tells “60 Minutes Sports” he’s still tired of being No. 2 (35)
- Report: Heat shopping Joel Anthony, seeking depth behind Wade (35)
- Fan wanders onto court while game is going on during Cavaliers-Clippers (VIDEO) (34)