Now THAT was a win.
In what was a back and forth fourth quarter and overtime, it was Russell Westbrook’s heroics that sent the Oklahoma City Thunder off to the victory circle. Westbrook hit a turn around three-point shot with 0.1 seconds left to give Oklahoma City the 113-112 win. Westbrook finished with 34 points on 10-of-25 shooting, seven assists and just one turnover. He also played a season high, 41 minutes.
“Yeah, I’m going for the win,” Westbrook said. “There’s no reason to tie the game.”
Oklahoma City (11-3) fought off a nine point deficit in the third quarter, trailing by just six to keep within arm’s length of the Golden State Warriors. That’s when Kevin Durant checked in and helped Oklahoma City start the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run. It changed the momentum and the game was a dog fight from to the finish.
For the Thunder, they started out well, came out and had Westbrook heating up. He hit his first five shots and Oklahoma City led for most of the first half. Golden State found themselves on the high side once or twice in the half, but it was Oklahoma City who led the majority. They even had seven point lead late in the second quarter, but we watched Golden State (9-8) close the half on a 6-3 mini-spurt.
Golden State came out and pushed Oklahoma City into a scoreless streak. The Thunder went five minutes 25 seconds without a single field goal, spanning back to the 1:14 mark of the second quarter. Steven Adams finally was able to tip-in a rebound to help the Thunder get off the scoreless streak.
Tonight was the eighth straight home victory to start the season for Oklahoma City. It’s one short of the franchise record that was met two other times.
Kevin Durant struggled due to good defense from Harrison Barnes. Durant shot just 7-of-22 from the floor and 0-of-2 from three-point range. However, that stretch early in the fourth quarter was really a deciding factor in the game. He took advantage of a mismatch of Klay Thompson guarding him, and made the point to attack the rim.
However, late in the quarter, with Barnes guarding him, he wasn’t nearly as aggressive and was turnover prone. Something we’re not used to seeing.
In the waning second of the game. Kevin Durant missed a jumper over Barnes, and it was knocked out of bounds off David Lee, and the officials reviewed the play, and Oklahoma City kept the possession. Then after Durant off a screen found a wide open Ibaka, Serge missed the jumper and it was Westbrook’s hustle who tipped it out. That’s where Thabo Sefolosha was found saving it, throwing it to Westbrook. Then Westbrook went boom.
Despite Ibaka’s miss, he played well tonight again. He gathered another double-double, he shot 6-of-11 for 18 points, gathered in 13 rebounds and blocked four shots. He was very instrumental in the fourth quarter as Golden State couldn’t seem to get near the rim without being contested.
Westbrook finished with 34 points, giving him 32.5 points per game in a pair of games against the Warriors this season. He’s averaging 18.8 PPG against the rest of the NBA. You have to include Westbrook’s previous huge three-point shot in the final seconds versus Golden State last time as well. We have forgotten due to Andre Igoudala’s huge shot to win the game.
Including the playoffs, Russell Westbrook entering the game shooting 1-of-20 on game-tying or go-ahead field goal attempts in the final 5 seconds of 4th quarter or overtime in his career.
Keys to the Game
Limit 3-point production: A
Oklahoma City did a pretty good job in making the Golden State Warriors take contested three-point attempts. Warriors finished 8-of-30 for the game. That includes the Warriors going 3-of-16 in the second half and in overtime. Golden State was 1-of-6 in the fourth quarter and overtime combined. Solid perimeter defense I say.
Stay in the Game: C
Thunder did that thing where they struggled and almost fell behind by double digits. There wasn’t a lot of injury coming out of halftime and it nearly cost them the game tonight. Some of that can be contributed to the loss of Kendrick Perkins. He left with a dislocated ring finger. He’s a lot of high energy for the Thunder.
Bench Play: B+
Once again, the Thunder bench players performed well. Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb combined for 16 points and no turnovers. They helped limit the Warriors to just 13 points between their four that played. They could have shot a little better and play better defense, but offensively, they were decent.