The Weekly Critique: Thunder Survive Brutal Road Trip

In the past eight days, the Thunder played three games. All of them were on the road. Last Wednesday night Oklahoma City lost against the Golden State Warriors while on Monday they beat the Utah Jazz in a thriller ending. Yesterday the Thunder completed a six games road trip and beat the Pelicans in New Orleans.

The Games

Oklahoma City at Golden State 100-121
Oklahoma City at Utah 97-95
Oklahoma City at New Orleans 114-105

Four Observations

Russell Westbrook is not an All-Star game starter

This topic has been discussed a lot in the past week, but it still feels weird to realize that Westbrook will not start in the All-Star game. The fan vote is the only reason why the number zero is not a part of the starting five. Media and players gave him the maximum of votes. However, he ended up third in the fans voting list. It’s strange that fans can’t recognize the type of season Westbrook is having this year but, unless the system changes, we might see more of this crazy results in the future.

The Triple-Double campaign continues

Thanks to three consecutive triple-doubles recorded in the past week, Russell Westbrook moved to the 5th place on the All-Time leaders’ list with a total of 60 triple-doubles. He passed Larry Bird at 59 and he is now “only” 18 away from Wilt Chamberlain for the 4th position. This season, Russell Westbrook recorded already 23 triple-doubles (the Thunder are 18-5 when he has one) and so far he is averaging 30.7 points, 10.4 assists, and 10.7 rebounds.

Mr. Clutch Time

Russell Westbrook showed another impressive performance in clutch time, this time against the Utah Jazz. He did not only hit the game-winner, but he also scored important free throws and assisted Adams on a fastbreak. Westbrook is leading the league in points, assists, steals and plus/minus in clutch time (minimum 20 games played). He is also tied for the 4th place in rebounds. This season, the Thunder are 16-10 when the game is on the line. Russell Westbrook is the reason why Oklahoma City is in the position to win these games and he is also the reason why they are winning most of them.

Jersey and Merchandising

On Tuesday, the released the top sellers in Jersey and team merchandising. Russell Westbrook is in the 5th place for the most popular jerseys sold behind Stephen Curry (Warriors), Lebron James (Cavaliers), Durant (Warriors), Irving (Cavaliers). Oklahoma City instead is ranked on 7th rposition for the most popular team merchandise. I think this is a pretty impressive result considering that the Thunder are a small market and they do not have a really cool logo/Jersey design. Hopefully, with Nike taking over next year, the management will think about a little restyling. Ahead of Oklahoma City on the team merchandising list, we find Golden State, Cleveland, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago, New York, and San Antonio.

Top Three plays of the week

Westbrook for the win vs the Jazz

Adams playing well

Kanter big dunk vs NOLA

Up Next:

The Thunder have three games left in the month of January. The first one will be tonight at home against the Dallas Mavericks. Oklahoma City will have a couple of days off before playing the Cavs in Cleveland on Sunday and the Spurs in San Antonio on Tuesday night.

About the author

Twitter: @euro_thunder

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