In just 19 minutes and 59 seconds, Russell Westbrook registered his third triple-double in as many games. In 48 minutes of play, the Oklahoma City Thunder (11-8) got the best of the New York Knicks (8-9) 112-103.
With the stat line, 27 points, 14 assists and 18 rebounds, Westbrook is now averaging a triple-double through the first 19 games of the NBA season. Madison Square Garden was the perfect altar for the performance Westbrook bestowed upon the sold out New York City crowd. It was the second fastest triple-double ever.
While Westbrook was the headline, the second unit got things going early.
The Thunder were down 11 late in the first quarter. Oklahoma City was missing easy shots and Westbrook was forced to sit with two fouls. The Knicks appeared to be the next in line of Thunder opponents to blast the Oklahoma City defense in the initial quarter.
Thankfully for the Thunder, Enes Kanter and Anthony Morrow had other plans. Morrow continued his recent stellar play with 14 points on five-of-seven shooting. When Oklahoma City needed to stretch the floor, Morrow was sensational from downtown.
Kanter had perhaps his best game of the season and looked like the rebounding and put-back machine Thunder fans became accustomed to last season. 27 points and 10 rebounds, eight points coming in the fourth when the Knicks attempted to steal a game the Thunder dominated.
The eight minutes Westbrook was off the floor in the early stages of the game due to foul trouble set the tone. The reserves did not let the Knick lead balloon, rather they outplayed the Knicks and cut the lead in half.
Then Westbrook went to work.
The All-Star point guard dissected the New York defense in the paint. Dime after dime to Steven Adams, 14 points and 10 boards, Joffrey Lauvergne, six points and five rebounds and Kanter. The Thunder outscored the Knicks 66-46 in the paint and never allowed Carmelo Anthony, 18 points, have his way down low.
Not to be forgotten was the magnificent play of Andre Roberson. In addition to a dagger three, late in the ballgame, Roberson completely erased Anthony after a quick start. Anthony was harassed by Roberson at every turn and was four-of-19 from the floor. It was one of the better individual defensive performances of the season for the Thunder.
The Thunder have slowly improved their play overall since their struggles last week. This was a good win on the road Oklahoma City desperately needed.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Defend the three A
New York tried but failed. The Thunder held the Knicks to 31 percent shooting from the three point line and never allowed anyone to get hot. The Thunder’s relentless rebounding and punishing play down low forced the Knicks into an uncomfortable game they were not ready for.
53-40. Total domination.
Hey Bench, show up A+
48-19. Total humiliation. Granted the Knicks bench is nothing to write home about, but it was so apparent when both team’s reserves entered the game. Once the Thunder bench went to work, the Knicks had no answer for the Thunder.
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