Oklahoma City went into Utah losing their last two, looking for a big road win versus a hot Utah Jazz team. After a gritty, defensive battle, Russell Westbrook’s late game heroics once again surged Thunder to victory. Here are some key numbers to Thunder’s huge road win:
Westbrook attained his 22nd triple double of the season tonight, with 38 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. He is now tied with Larry Bird in career triple doubles, with 59 total.
Oklahoma City had an abysmal third quarter, only scoring 11 total points. It was the turning point of the game until Westbrook’s crunch time performance, as Oklahoma City had controlled much of the game since the beginning of the second quarter. The Thunder shot 18 percent in the third quarter, while the Jazz shot 39 percent.
One of the bigger keys to beating Utah, is being physical on the glass, especially the offensive glass. Oklahoma City pulled down eight offensive rebounds, including a couple big ones in the last minute of the game that led to Westbrook free throws to put Thunder up three. Oklahoma City overall out-rebounded the Utah Jazz 45-41, respectively.
The game plan for Oklahoma City was clear from the start: push the pace and run the Jazz ragged. Thunder turned in 25 fast break points, 20 of those coming in the first half. Westbrook and Oladipo constantly pushed the pace that led to some easy Thunder buckets.
Before Westbrook went on his fourth quarter tear, he could not throw the ball into the ocean. While the Thunder struggled as a team offensively in the third, Westbrook had his fair share of struggles missing 13 straight shots. It didn’t end up mattering though, as he finished hitting four of his last six shots, essentially giving Oklahoma City the win.
In weird stats of the night, both Oklahoma City and Utah shot the same exact percentage from the floor, at 43.4 percent. It was a defensive battle all night, with both teams grinding for every bucket. Also oddly enough, Thunder and the Jazz both made 36 shots as a team, in 83 attempts.
In his first game back in a week since his concussion, Steven Adams was a monster on defense. He finished the game with four blocks, including one on Derrick Favors that led to a dunk by Adams to give Oklahoma City the lead late.
Andre Roberson has had some spectacular individual defense this season, and tonight was another great one. He was all over Gordon Hayward all night, leading Hayward to shoot 35 percent from the field and 33 percent from beyond the arc.
Once Oklahoma City went down by nine with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game, the Thunder outscored the Jazz by 11 points. Thunder put up 30 points from that point on, while Utah put up just 19. It was a huge turnaround after Oklahoma City seemingly could not score in the third.