Russell Westbrook entered the fourth quarter with nine minutes and forty-one seconds left in the game. The Thunder at that point had scored only 73 total points and they were trailing Denver by eight. Led by a vintage outstanding Westbrook’s performance, Oklahoma City outscored the Nuggets 22-13 in the remaining time, and won the game by one point: 95-94.
Westbrook scored in this short span of time 16 points while shooting 7-12. He carried the team on his shoulders and simply won the game by himself.
Yes! Last night, Russell Westbrook has been fantastic. He finished with 38 points (16-28), 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and 3 turnovers. The only other Thunder player in double-digits was Alex Abrines with 11 points. Westbrook took smart shots, didn’t force too much, and exploited what Denver’s defense was giving to him. It reminded a lot of last year’s Westbrook.
Paul George played pretty bad on offense since his return from injury. He is averaging 16.4 points per game and shooting 34.6% from the floor. He is not only just missing shots but he also seems lost. When the ball goes into his hands he is stopping all the (little) offensive motion. Nevertheless, he is still engaged on the defensive side of the floor, even though last night he missed his man a few times.
The bench provided another convincing performance. They scored 29 points and kept the offense moving. Grant and Abrines played solid minutes and also Patterson and Huestis have been pretty good, especially on the defensive end of the floor.
I want to drop some words on the offensive improvement of Andre Roberson. He finished also last night with efficient 8 points (4-6 FG), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal. The way Donovan is using him is interesting and effective. Roberson is always in movement, either he is screening (on or off the ball) or he is cutting to the basket. He scored all his points in the paint again and you rather have him shooting from there than outside the three-point line.
Despite the recent success, seven wins and three losses in the past ten games, the Thunder are still struggling to generate offense. Oklahoma City’s offensive rating is 101.5 which ranks 25th overall. Their production has been poor and not fun to watch. There have been moments where the offense seems very fluent and successful but it never lasted for a whole game. Thirty games into the season should have been enough to figure it out, apparently, they aren’t. Luckily for the Thunder, their defense is the 2nd best in the league, and how do they say? “Offense sells tickets, defense wins championships”.
- FG% 48, 3P% 29, FT% 66, ASSISTS 13, REBOUNDS 40, STEALS 9, TURNOVERS 10
- FG% 43, 3P% 32, FT% 66, ASSISTS 21, REBOUNDS 45, STEALS 8, TURNOVERS 11
The Thunder will play on Wednesday night at home against the Utah Jazz. Tip-off 7 p.m. CT
Cover photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images