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Thunder Reserves Help Team Hit All-Star Break on a High | February
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We should still keep last night's win in check, considering it came against one of the worst teams in the league without their best player, but the Oklahoma City Thunder have entered the All-Star break on a winning note. They destroyed the Sacramento Kings last night, sans Tyreke Evans, 126-96, for their largest margin of victory of the season.

Again, it was a home game against the Kings. I'm not exactly going to claim this as a phenomenal win for the Thunder. But the way things have been going, I'll certainly take it, nonetheless.

I did, however, take a few positives out of last night's romp. After all, they did score 126 points. They must have done a few things right.

One of my strongest criticisms of Oklahoma City this season has been about the lack of production behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Sure, Jeff Green has the occassional big game, while James Harden gets his points off the bench, but you could more or less fill in the box score with the same numbers on a nightly basis.

Until last night.

Durant led the team's starters with 17 points (yes, I said starters). He had an off shooting night, connecting on just 5-18 field goal attempts, including a horrid 1-8 from behind the three point line. He was able to convert all six free throw attempts and grab 7 rebounds, but all in all, it was an off night for the league's highest scorer.

But against a lousy team when other people step up their game, the Thunder proved they can win if they get production from some of their other players. And believe it or not, Westbrook was really not one of those players last night either.

Westbrook finished the game with a double-double (10 points and 11 assists), but did not try to create his own shot too often. Maybe that was a good thing, because he was able to get so many of his teammates involved in the game. Green finished the game with 16 points, as did Nenad Kristic, which is certainly a pleasant surprise. Also surprising was a nice offensive performance from the team's final starter, Thabo Sefolosha, who had 9 points and 6 rebounds.

But the Thunder was not done. The bench had one of their best offensive showings of the season, led by Daequan Cook, who led the team with a season high 20 points, including hitting 5-7 from three point land. Cook also added 5 rebounds. Serge Ibaka had 15 points, highlighted by 9-10 free throws, and also contributed 9 rebounds and 4 blocks. Harden had a smorgasbord type of game with key stats scattered all across the board, as he finished with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks.

Oklahoma City played all 12 players on the active list in the win, and all but Nick Collison got into the scoring column. Eric Maynor also had 7 points and 8 assists in reserve duty.

The Thunder came out with energy that has not been seen as much as it should be as of late. They must have been looking forward to their week long vacation, aside from Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka, who will all be participants during All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles Friday-Sunday.

At 35-19, the Thunder currently possess a 4 1/2 game lead over the Portland Trailblazers in the Northwest Division. They are 5 games better than the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets, who are both going through a bit of controversy right now with Jerry Sloan stepping down abruptly in Utah and Carmelo Anthony expected to be dealt by next Thursday's trade deadline. Still, it remains a four team race.

Oklahoma City is also currently the fourth seed in the Westren Conference, and hold a 3 1/2 game lead over the New Orleans Hornets for that spot, as well as the head-to-head tie break advantage. But they will have to come out strong to start the unofficial second half of the season, as their schedule looming on the horizon is marked by some tough games against the San Antonio Spours, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers to end the month of February.

Perhaps they will even have a new face or two for some of those games? Did you hear me, Sam Presti?

* Make sure to follow Kelley on Twitter @RobKelley24, as he receives no All-Star break like many of the players... 
 

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