Russell Westbrook stole his second triple-double of the season and two others had double-doubles as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Indiana Pacers 114-96 on Wednesday, Oct. 25.
The Thunder improve to 2-2 on the season and 2-1 at the Peake.
“We stuck to our principles on defense and our offense was great,” Paul George said.
Westbrook was near flawless as he maneuvered all over the court, drawing fouls and wowing the crowd with impressive stair climbing lay ups and dunks. The reigning MVP finished with 28 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds.
“He was the engine tonight,” George said. “That’s the Russ we needed.”
The Thunder held Indiana to 33.7 percent shooting. A Pacers team who were shooting over 50 percent to start the season were just held in check all night long. That started with Steven Adams. The Kiwi ate all night against former Thunder Domantas Sabonis. Adams finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
“I thought we took a positive step on both ends of the floor,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “The fact we put them on the line 35 times and still held them to 96 points I thought our guys gave good effort defensively.”
Indiana had their biggest lead at the start of the game, a three-pointer which put Indiana up 3-0. The Thunder would charge back, jump by 12-5 before the Pacers could really even get their feet set. While Indiana clawed back to take a 37-35 lead with 8:51, the Thunder would tie it up and never trail again on an Adams cut to the basket.
“Steven [Adams] rolls real well,” Donovan said. “He rebounds. He scores in ways that’s really productive and helpful to our team.”
The Thunder led 54-48 at halftime.
While Victor Oladipo continued to pour it on the Thunder, finishing with 35 points, he was really the only Pacers that made a dent in the second half. Oklahoma City opened up as much as a 20-point lead in the half and overcame some spotty officiating.
“Our guys did a good job from a scouting report stand point tonight,” Donovan said.
Oklahoma City nailed 10-of-27 from deep tonight. It’s the fourth time this season they nailed at least 10 three-pointers.
When it wasn’t Westbrook attacking, Carmelo Anthony, who finished with a 28-point, 10-rebound double-double, attacked and made the Pacers pay. Anthony had two shots at the or near the end of quarter buzzers. He knows how to ISO at the right times so far this season and not over doing it.
Josh Huestis played well in limited minutes. Huestis finished only 1-of-5 for three points but was a best plus-12 off the bench. Playing in place of Terrance Ferguson, Huestis is making the most of all his minutes right now.
George struggled to get some rhythm playing his former team. While he finished with 10 points on 50 percent shooting. He fouled out midway through the fourth quarter.
Not playing again until Friday night, the Thunder are now heading on the road for a small road trip. Oklahoma City goes to Minnesota on Friday night and will hit the road for the second night-of-back-to-back to Chicago, who on Wednesday was still winless. Both games tip-off at 7 p.m.
Keys to the Game
Defend the mid-range: A+
Oklahoma City’s shot defense was a championship caliber level tonight. They shut down everything the Pacers tried to do. Oklahoma City can do this every night, they’ll be raising a trophy in June. That’s just how good they were defensively tonight.
Limit fast break: A+
Indiana came in averaging over 20 points per game on the break. Tonight, the Thunder’s defense locked in and held the Pacers to only seven points. Oklahoma City countered that, scoring 14 points on the break themselves. That’s a recipe for success.
Get to the foul line: A+
The thunder took 26 attempts tonight, making only 18. While making them is the tough part right now, they finally found themselves back over the hump of getting to the line. The most they had attempted before tonight was only 20 attempts.
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