There are a lot of positives to take away from Saturday night:
- Melo reached 25.000 points
- Westbrook got his 15th triple-double
- The Thunder won their 7th straight game,
- Paul George replaced the injured DeMarcus Cousins in the All-Star game
However, this will be remembered as the game where Andre Roberson injured his knee badly, and it will sideline him for the rest of the season.
This is a tough hit, not only for Andre Roberson who was having a stellar defensive season but for the Thunder as a team. It will be interesting going forward to see how Oklahoma City will adapt on the court, and how aggressive Sam Presti will be on the market with the trade deadline approaching (February 8th).
Once again, the main thought goes out to Roberson. Andre is probably the best defender on the team, he was a solid candidate for the first defensive team, and he also had a big chance to compete for the defensive player of the year trophy. To give you an idea of his impact on defense here are some numbers:
Westbrook, George, Anthony, Adams together on the floor:
- Def. Rating with Roberson on the court 96.6
- Def. Rating with Roberson off the court 114.5
All of it is gone in less than a second: Roberson tried to jump to catch an alley-oop from Westbrook, but he wasn’t able to jump at all, it looked like he slipped on the floor and hurt his back, but actually, something cracked in his knee. The diagnosis is bad: ruptured patellar tendon, his season is over.
Until Roberson’s injury, the Thunder were destroying the Pistons, on both ends of the floor. The offense looked unstoppable, while on the defensive end Oklahoma City was forcing Detroit into tough shots and turnovers. Obviously, after Andre went down, the Thunder weren’t able to focus anymore (completely understandable) on the game and allowed the Pistons to come back into it. However, the gap created was too big, and Oklahoma City came away with another win.
Last night, Carmelo Anthony hit a big career milestone: he is now the 21st player in NBA history to reach 25.000 points. This is a great accomplishment for Anthony. There have been a lot of talks about his style of play, but one thing is certain: Carmelo Anthony is a born scorer and he proved it all through his career.
Russell Westbrook played another excellent game. He finished with 31 points, 11 rebounds, 13 assists, and 2 steals. He shot 59.1% from the floor (13-22) and 75% from behind the arc (3-4). This is Westbrook’s 15th triple-double of the season, and once again it matches with a Thunder win.
With Roberson going down, someone from the bench will have to step up, and now it looks a bit scary. The options at the moment are two: Terrence Ferguson or Josh Huestis. Josh is indeed the better defender, but lately, he hasn’t been very good overall. Ferguson is still young, but he definitely hustles hard on both ends of the floor, and this could give him a little edge over Huestis.
- FG% 48.0, 3P% 42.0, FT% 73.0, ASSISTS 23, REBOUNDS 43, STEALS 9, TURNOVERS 9
- FG% 46.0, 3P% 36.0, FT% 75.0, ASSISTS 24, REBOUNDS 43, STEALS 4, TURNOVERS 16
The Thunder will play tonight at home against the Philadelphia 76ers, tip-off 5 p.m. CT
Cover Photo by Chris Schwegler