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.
- Shaq tells Suzy Shuster he, Kobe Bryant could have tied Jordan’s six titles 31
- Dwight Howard tried to take loaded gun through airport security, will not face charges 49
- Will Miami make a run at Kevin Durant? 17
- Report: Veteran forward Chuck Hayes agrees to deal with Clippers 7
- Report: Lakers to sign Brazilian, FC Barcelona point guard Marcelo Huertas to one-year deal 10
- Shaq to Kobe on podcast: “I just want people to know that I don’t hate you” 18
- D’Angelo Russell on Tracy McGrady tweet: “Some Lakers fans are spoiled” 28
- Anthony Davis “definitely” plans on shooting more threes this season 4