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.
- Anthony Davis steps into spotlight, is Team USA’s lynchpin 10
- Referee Violet Palmer comes out publicly as gay 30
- Report: Cavaliers last team standing in Kevin Love trade talks 84
- Pat Riley says he didn’t think LeBron was leaving, Heat can turn around quickly 54
- Coach K on Rose: “Derrick’s played great, not good, and hasn’t held anything back” 30
- Report: Anthony Bennett pulled from pro-am by agent, possibly due to his inclusion in Kevin Love trade talks 43
- Report: Sixers fighting against immediate changes to NBA Draft Lottery system 59
- Team USA going small ball, but how many bigs do they keep on the bench? 4