Russell Westbrook saved the Thunder while making history on Sunday afternoon in the Mile High City. Westbrook drained a 30-foot three-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Denver Nuggets 106-105.
Oklahoma City improved to 46-34 on the season, beating the vegas over/under of 45 wins set in the preseason.
Westbrook’s buzzer beater was the nightcap of a beautiful evening. The MVP front runner had a whale of a game with 50 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists. It was his 42nd triple-double of the season and 79th of his career. The triple-double is the most triple-doubles in one NBA season, surpsassing Oscar Robertson’s 41 triple-doubles in 1961-62.
Oklahoma City trailed 53-52 at the break. It was the second straight game where Oklahoma City trailed at half.
Russ scored the final 13 points for the Thunder, including a slew of free throws off a questionable flagrant call with 1:56 remaining saw Oklahoma City cut an 8-point deficit down to five.
Westbrook’s record-breaking assist came with 4:17 remaining after a series of missed shots delayed his historic moment. He drove to the hoop, dished it out to a wide open Semaj Christon, who nailed the three-pointer for the record.
Jamal Murray caught Westbrook trying to shoot a three, Westbrook nailed all three of the free throw attempts, cutting the Nuggets lead down to 105-101 with 47 seconds remaining.
After a charge taken by Victor Oladipo, Westbrook down down for the lay up, cutting Oklahoma City within two. Then, the Thunder decided to play it out. Jokic missed a lay up, Westbrooked grabbed the rebound and called timeout. That set up the play.
Kyle Singler inbounded the ball to Steven Adams, who handed it to Westbrook, and the rest is history.
It’s fitting that Oklahoma City would win this game on a Westbrook buzzer beater in the game he set the record. Westbrook has rescured Oklahoma City all season long. What’s one more game?
The Thunder will close out their road season with a trip to great north to take on the Timberwolves on Tuesday night. That game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Then, the Thunder will head home to play the Nuggets again to end the regular season.
Keys to the Game
Slow Jokic: B
Nikola Jokic came into the game as having one of the better post ASB in the NBA. However, Steven Adams and Co. found themselves holding him to 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting, six rebounds and only three assists.
Fast break: A+
Oklahoma City outscored the Nuggets 28-17 on the break and it’s statistically proven when the Thunder break, they’re more efficient than most in the NBA and when Westbrook leads that break, Oklahoma City is nearly unstoppable.
The Nuggets shot 47 percent from the floor but only 32 percent from three. You could really see the lockdown defense in crunch time as the Thunder made their come back. Oklahoma City had their issues but for the most part, Oklahoma City did a really good job defensive job today.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!