Oklahoma City fought hard and won the fight and the season series vs. the Utah Jazz on the back of the Victor Oladipo and Russell Westbrook. Oklahoma City won 112-104.
The Thunder won their second straight game and are now 37-39 on the season.
Oladipo and Westbrook’s control of the first half dictated the pace and the play early and often. Oladipo found paydirt with a buzzer beater to end the first quarter, giving Oklahoma City the 29-23 lead.
What Westbrook did was more methodical. He dished out four assists on the first four buckets. He had six assists in the first quarter and found his scoring through more of a feeling of the game. His ability to carve up the Utah defense through his passing saw Oklahoma City open up their first double-digit lead on Westbrook pass to Andre Roberson as the Thunder went up 52-42 with 2:01 left in the second quarter.
A Westbrook lobbed tip-in at the buzzer sent the Thunder to the locker room up 62-46 at halftime.
Westbrook and the Oladipo show continued in the third quarter. The Thunder pushed their lead out to as many as 23 in the quarter. Through an array of assists from the two, Oklahoma City found numerous players involved in the process. Six different players scored in a span of seven minutes, blowing open the Thunder’s advantage.
Westbrook finished with 33 points, 11 rebounds, and 14 assists. It was his 32nd triple-double of the season and that gives him historic company once again. Westbrook now has the second most triple-doubles in a single NBA season. He trails only Oscar Robertson who had 41 in 1961-62.
“the Triple-doubles have been given a lot of attention,” Donovan said. “Rightfully so. When his career is done. He’s a guy you’re going to look at when all’s said and done what he’s done in his career is historic.”
It was also Westbrook’s 69th career triple-double. He’s fifth all-time and only nine triple-doubles away from passing Wilt Chamberlain for fourth place.
“Victor is a playmaker,” Donovan said. “It’s great to have him back.”
Oladipo’s solid game in his third game back from injury saw him score 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting, dish out four assists and one take away.
“We’re still searching for that stamina to maintain this through four quarters,” Donovan said.
Utah fought back, cutting the lead to as little as six, but Westbrook and Co. fought hard to push it back above 10 on multiple occasions. Westbrook had 16 points in the fourth quarter.
“I just don’t think we played well at the end of the third and in the fourth.” Donovan said.
Taj Gibson, who’s started the last two games for Oklahoma City, left with a hip injury in the third quarter and never returned.
Oklahoma City will look to Brooklyn for a showdown with the Nets on Tuesday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Defend the three: C
Utah hit a three with all their abilities tonight. There seemed to be a lack of attempts on their part. The Jazz averages about 26 attempts per game and only put up 20 tonight. I’d credit the Thunder for running them off the line tonight.
End Strong: B
Westbrook had 16 in the quarter and the Jazz cut it to as low as six, but the Thunder got the job done. They could have folded when it went to six, but Westbrook would never let his team do that. Oklahoma City held on.
Despite letting Utah shoot 45 percent from three, the Jazz shot 48 percent. Oklahoma City could have limited a little better three-point defense, this could have been a real spanking by the Thunder. It helps Utah had players out on injury, but you take what you can.