Big third fuels OKC’s blow out of Philly

Mar 22, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) drives to the basket against the Philadelphia 76ers during the third quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

A 19-2 run to start the second half saw the Thunder blow a game wide open, as the Thunder took care of business on Wednesday night. Oklahoma City dominated the Philadelphia 76ers 122-97.

The Thunder’s victory pushes their record to 41-30 on the year, securing a winning record for the eighth straight season.

Oklahoma City’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is now four.

The Thunder now have won 16 straight games over the 76ers, the longest winning streak vs. any team in the NBA currently.

“I thought we did a really good job defensively from start to finish,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan.”

Russell Westbrook wasn’t his super explosive self. He didn’t have to be. He only had six shot attempts, went to the line six times, scoring a total of 18 points. He casually dished out 14 assists and grabbed 11 rebounds for his 35th career triple-double.

He needs six triple-doubles in Oklahoma City’s final 11 games to tie Oscar Robertson’s single-season record, set during the 1961-62 season.

Per Elias, Westbrook’s triple-double tonight is the first time someone had a triple-double while being perfect from the floor and the free throw line.

Oklahoma City fell behind early on 17-15 on a Nick Stauskas three-pointer, but a Westbrook and-one opportunity set fire to the game. He nailed the free throw and the Thunder never looked back. The Thunder went on a 14-5 run to end the quarter, leading 29-22.

“I thought our guys did a good job to respond,” Donovan said. “Philly had been playing some really good basketball.”

When the 76ers closed with 33-28 early in the second quarter, Westbrook’s return paired well with Enes Kanter. The Turkish big man scored 10 consecutive points, pushing Oklahoma City’s lead into double digits for the first time, going up 45-33 with 6:26 left until halftime.

Doug McDermott and Jerami Grant hit a couple of threes, pushing Oklahoma City’s lead to 63-50 at the half.

It continued to snowball for the Thunder in the second half. Oklahoma City opened the second half on a 19-2 run, with the Thunder leading 82-54 with 7:04 left in the third quarter.

Kanter finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.

Oklahoma City outrebounded the 76ers 54-25, the largest rebounding margin in Thunder history. It’s also ties the franchise low for lowest rebounds allowed. Ties New Orlean’s 25 rebounds from Feb. 2013.

“They do a really good job of coming down with the offensive rebounds,” Donovan said. “I thought we did a really good job of stopping that tonight.”

The Thunder will have some rest before they head to Houston for a big showdown with the Rockets. Game time is schedule for 2:30 p.m. on ABC.


Hit the three: C

Oklahoma City was only 4-of-12 after three quarters. They finished 4-of-16 for the game. The numbers were a bit low as Westbrook didn’t take a single three attempt in this one. Oklahoma City can do better. They will have to against the Rockets on Sunday.

Make your free throws: C

The Thunder hit 22-of-30 from the charity stripe tonight. That’s 73.3%. Three of those misses came at the end of the first half. Didn’t help that Andre Roberson and Steven Adams combined for 1-of-7 from the free throw line.

Take care of the ball: B

Some of the turnovers were just trying to do a little too much. The bench was able to play a lot in this one as the score reached wild margins, so the turnovers started to pile up late. Overall, the Thunder did a decent job taking care of the ball tonight.

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