The Thunder won on Wednesday night 114-112 over the Brooklyn Nets. If you saw that score without context, you might think it was a closely fought battle all game.
The Thunder trailed by two points to end the first quarter. The deficient got worse and worse every quarter until a man by the name of Paul George showed up. George had a career high 25 points in the fourth quarter, as the Thunder outscored the Nets 39-19 to complete the largest comeback in Thunder history.
The game was defined by the three-point shooting. The Nets were 15-for-36 from the field tonight, and the Thunder were 13-for-38, with six of them coming from George.
Russell Westbrook had 21 points, 17 assists, and 15 rebounds tonight, his fifth 15-point, 15-assist, 15-rebound game of his career. Westbrook was 2-of-9 from the three-point-line tonight, adding another poor performance from downtown. There is no need for him to be shooting that many three-pointers. It’s a detriment to the team.
Paul George of course, was the man of the night. George had 47 points, 15 rebounds, and 4 assists on 15-of-27 shooting, 6-of-13 from three, and 11-of-14 from the free-throw-line. George was one point off of his 48 point career high.
“I got into a zone, a comfortable place, I stared off a little slow, the guys were behind me, and told me to just kept going,” George said.
George hit a hesitation three-pointer with 3.1 seconds left to put Oklahoma City in front 114-112. It was Oklahoma City’s first lead since they led 21-20 with 1:01 left in the first quarter. George scored or assisted on the Thunder’s final 20 points of the game. He scored 18 of them and assisting on Grant’s lone bucket late in the quarter.
The Thunder trailed by as many as 23 in the third quarter before Oklahoma City made their move. The Thunder were within 18 when the third quarter starter. Brooklyn kept the Thunder at bay for the first four minutes of the fourth quarter but that’s when George went bananas.
George scored all 25 of his fourth quarter points over the final 7:11 of the fourth quarter. He went 9-of-12 in the quarter. Russell Westbrook had four assists to George in the fourth quarter alone. George outscored the Nets 25-19 in the quarter and 25-11 over that 7:11 time frame.
“He never really got going at the start,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “He got it going and Russell and the group got him the ball.”
George’s 47 points were a career high with the Thunder. It tops his previous high of 43 against the Nuggets in February 2018.
Oklahoma City shot an atrocious 15-for-26 at the line tonight, which is just under 58 percent. Steven Adams was a contributor to the poor free-throw percentage, only making 1-out-of-6.
“I give them a lot of credit for their resilience, their competitiveness, being down for as much as we were at the start of the 4th quarter to make that comeback,” Donovan said.
Note: Hamidou Diallo returned for the first time since the scary fall in Golden State. Diallo played four minutes and had one point and two turnovers.
The Thunder are now 16-7, good enough for the second best record in the Western Conference, and are half games back of the first place 17-7 Nuggets.
Oklahoma City ends their road trip on Friday when they visit Chicago to play the Bulls (5-20) at 7:00 p.m. Thunder time.
Keys to the Game
Limit Turnovers: B
The Thunder turned the ball over 13 times, one less than their season average, and four less than they did versus the Detroit Pistons on Monday night. A few specific turnovers come to mind; Westbrook’s first two, the flashy pass that went off of Adams’ hands, and the other flashy pass that went off of Jerami Grant’s hands. Paul George had a very bad pass off an Oklahoma City steal that lead to a Nets three. The best practice to limit turnovers is to make smart decisions and solid passes. Mistakes will happen however, as these players are human.
Bench Production: F
The Thunder bench scored 18 points, compared to the starters’ 96 points. There were only three Thunder bench players to score; Dennis Schroder with 12, Nerlens Noel with five, and Diallo with one. 76 minutes were spread across the bench total, with the majority going to Schroder’s 30-minutes. Alex Abrines was next up with 18, and Noel was the last bench player with minutes in double-figures as he played 14. This game was ran by the Thunder stars, but it’s not always going to be that way. Players have to step up, like they have in previous games this season.
Get Abrines and Patterson looks from 3: D
Alex Abrines and Patrick Patterson shot a combined three 3-pointers, while Russell Westbrook shot nine. Westbrook can of course create his own shot, so he is able to get more looks, but Abrines and Patterson are on the Thunder to shoot threes. If they aren’t receiving looks, they are dead weight. Abrines played 18 minutes while Patterson played only six.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!