It was a crucial match for the Thunder’s playoff run, and Oklahoma City didn’t disappoint. The team led once again by an outstanding performance of Russell Westbrook, played a solid game on both ends of the floor. Despite Carmelo Anthony and Paul George having an off night, the bench stepped up, scored fifty points, and brought that energy and toughness which were missing for big part of the season.
The next two games will be the last “easy” ones for the Thunder (against the Kings on Monday at home, and against the Hawks in Atlanta on Tuesday) before the final stretch which includes eleven games against playoff teams.
Russell Westbrook recorded his nineteen triple-double of the season, and now he has ninety-eight career triple-doubles. Last night, once again, he was the engine of the team: he was aggressive on offense, and he defended well. Westbrook indeed missed some assignments on defense, but it was good to see him fight over screens and being engaged on that end. Interesting stat: in the past two games, Westbrook took only one three-pointer, let’s see if this becomes a trend in the remaining of the season.
The Corey Brewer effect. I didn’t know what to expect from Brewer when the Thunder signed him, but if he can keep up what he did in these first few games, then Oklahoma City might have found a lite replace for Andre Roberson. Brewer is bringing that extra energy on defense, and he is essentially doing what Roberson did on offense (cuts and screens) plus he is also hitting corner threes, which is always a nice extra.
Paul George and Carmelo Anthony had both a horrible shooting night: George finished with eleven points, he shot 4-16 from the floor and 1-8 from behind the arc. However, he was able to contribute in other ways: ten rebounds, five assists, one steal, and two blocks. Somehow, Anthony was able to do worse: two points, 1-8 from the floor, 0-3 from behind the arc. George has had more ups than downs lately (even if his three-point percentage fell off the ground), Anthony instead has been borderline unwatchable. The Thunder need him to be better than this in the final fourteen games.
What an amazing performance from the second unit last night! They scored a total of fifty points which is double of the season average. Everyone provided important minutes, but the biggest surprise was Nick Collison. Mr. Thunder, the veteran who played only eleven games (mostly garbage time) before yesterday, had a huge role in the fourth quarter to keep the Thunder in front of the Spurs. A real pro.
Steven Adams sprained his ankle in the second half and didn’t come back. Hopefully is nothing serious because the Thunder badly need Adams on the court. He has been without a doubt the third best player on the team, and with a tough final schedule, his presence is needed more than ever.
- FG% 45.3, 3P% 35.7, FT% 66.7, ASSISTS 24, REBOUNDS 50, STEALS 8, TURNOVERS 15
- FG% 46.5, 3P% 50.0, FT% 57.1, ASSISTS 26, REBOUNDS 43, STEALS 6, TURNOVERS 15
The Thunder will play against the Sacramento Kings on Monday night, tip-off 7.00 pm CT
Photos by Layne Murdoch