In what was a historical night for Russell Westbrook as he captured his 100th career triple-double, the Oklahoma City Thunder were able to get a win along with it. Oklahoma City, without Steven Adams, were able to come away with a 119-107 road win over the Atlanta Hawks. This is Thunder’s fourth win in a row, and fifth in seven games.
Westbrook had a huge night, as he tallied up 32 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. It was a fitting stat line, as he reached a big moment in his career, now just eight triple-doubles behind Jason Kidd. After tonight, the Thunder are 82-18 when Russell gets that triple-double.
It was a slow start for Oklahoma City, who was playing on a second night of a back to back, against the Hawks who are dead last in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta got out to a 12 point lead at halftime, as the Thunder gave up 66 first half points, and showed little effort defensively.
The Hawks fought hard all game, but couldn’t overcome Thunder’s talent and outside shooting, and it helped Oklahoma City a lot when they decided to play defense in the second half.
Oklahoma City, for the second night in a row, were on fire from deep. They hit 16 three-pointers, while shooting 46 percent from distance.
Carmelo Anthony, who finished with 21 points, was scorching from deep, hitting six total three-pointers tonight. Four of those came in the third quarter, when the Thunder came roaring back from being down 12 at half, to up eight midway through the third quarter. Oklahoma City went on a 26-8 scoring run that was over a span of roughly six minutes in that third quarter.
The Hawks were scrappy though, as they kept the game close until late in the fourth quarter when Westbrook and Jerami Grant took over.
As the Thunder were without Adams tonight, Jerami Grant had one of his biggest games of the season. He finished with 20 points, five rebounds, two steals and two blocks. He also drew some key offensive fouls late in the game on Atlanta, that helped Oklahoma City to build a lead late in the game.
Even with all that was going well in that second half for Oklahoma City, Paul George went down hard in midway through the third, hurting his hip and lower back area. He tried to stay in the game, but eventually subbed out and was taken to the lockerroom. He did not return, and there was no update given on his status throughout the game.
The Thunder will now have a couple days off, and hopefully will give George and Adams some time to get healthy before Oklahoma City takes on the Los Angeles Clippers. They will be looking for their fifth win in a row, which would be huge with the Western Conference playoff seeding being so close.
Keys to the Game:
Moving the ball: A
Behind Russell Westbrook’s 12 assists, Oklahoma City was able to rack up 27 total assists. The ball movement was key into getting tons of open looks for guys like Carmelo and Patrick Patterson.
Be aggressive on defense: B
The defensive effort in the first half was pretty poor, but the second half was the total opposite. Thunder held Atlanta to just 41 second half points, while racking up nine steals and 11 blocks as a team.
Simply show up: B+
It was no secret the Thunder slept walk for much of that first half, but they locked in when they needed to. Oklahoma City knows they need every single win that they are supposed to get, and that is exactly what they did tonight.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!