The Thunder played a perfect first quarter: they created open shots, they scored on these occasions, and they were able to get stops on the defensive end. This is why Oklahoma City had a twenty-three points lead after the first twelve minutes: 44-21.
However, from the second quarter on, the Kings took control of the game: first, they cut the Thunder’s lead to only seven points into halftime, and then they took the lead going into the last quarter: 90-85. The fourth quarter has been a battle, and luckily for the Thunder, Russell Westbrook hit one of his crazy game winners to steal the victory in Sacramento.
The Thunder are now 34-26, still 5th in the Western Conference.
Russell Westbrook had a terrible shooting night. In fact, before the game-winner, he shot 3-13 from the floor and 0-5 from behind the arc. Despite his shooting issues, Westbrook contributed in other ways: 11 assists and 15 rebounds. Another positive note is Westbrook’s improvement from the free throw line. Yesterday, he finished 8-10 and in the last ten games, he is shooting 88.2% from the free throw line. A huge improvement compared to his season’s average.
It feels like Carmelo Anthony rested during the All-Star break. A well-deserved rest which translated in a solid performance for the veteran power forward. Anthony finished with 23 points while shooting 7-12 from behind the three points line. He didn’t post up too much and took shots in rhythm. Hopefully, he will continue on this path.
Paul George led all the Thunder players in scoring. He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well (7-17 FG, 3-8 3PT) but he was perfect from the FT line (9-9) and, as Westbrook did, he helped the team in other ways. George added 8 assists, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, and he was a plus/minus +26. His effort on the defensive side of the floor is always outstanding, and he certainly is a valid candidate for DPOY.
I don’t have any more words to describe how good Steven Adams is this season. He became one of the best centers in the league: he is strong, sets killer screens, boxes out perfectly, attacks the offensive glass, and he is effective around the rim on offense (9-12 last night). I said it multiple times: Steven Adams is the third best player on this team and he is proving it night after night. His final stat line: 18 points, 11 rebounds (6 on offense), 1 assists, 4 blocks, 2 steals. Outstanding.
Rotations are still an issue for the Thunder, and this is a bit scary considering that there are only 22 games left before the season ends. Somehow last night, Donovan decided to play Ferguson too many minutes. T-Ferg was a plus/minus -30 in 13 minutes. It’s hard to understand why Donovan is playing him so much, or at all. Huestis played only 2 minutes more than Ferguson but he was more effective, maybe not on offense, but surely on defense. It’s going to be interesting to see how Donovan will manage the second unit in the next games.
- FG% 44.2, 3P% 40.0, FT% 83.3, ASSISTS 26, REBOUNDS 49, STEALS 6, TURNOVERS 11
- FG% 46.2, 3P% 44.4, FT% 73.3, ASSISTS 23, REBOUNDS 44, STEALS 6, TURNOVERS 9
The Thunder will play in the Bay on Saturday night against the Golden State Warriors. Tip-off 7.30 pm CT
Photos by Rocky Widner
Great 5 thoughts.