Tag - Cameron Payne

Thunder Game Day No. 14: vs. Chicago Bulls

Oklahoma City Thunder (6-7, 4-2 home) vs. Chicago Bulls (2-9, 1-5 away)

Wednesday, Nov. 15 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: Chesapeake Energy Arena (18,203)

TV: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27, U-Verse 751/1751 HD)
Online Streamhere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 12-point favorite. The over/under is 201.5.
Notes: Thunder: here | Bulls: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • Oklahoma City is going for their third straight victory with the Chicago Bulls in town.
  • Oklahoma City beat the Bulls 101-69 earlier this month in one of the largest victories in Thunder history.
  • Chicago is 1-5 since playing the Thunder.
  • At 93.6 points per game, Chicago has the worst offense in the NBA.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Brian Davis and Michael Cage call the game on the Thunder’s flagship station, Fox Sports Oklahoma. You can watch the game there, catch it on NBA League Pass, or use the Fox Sports App (If you’re in Oklahoma).
  • You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for game updates.

SCOUTING THE Bulls

  • The Chicago Bulls are 2-9 on the season, 14th in the Eastern Conference. Only Atlanta has a worse record.
  • The Bulls are 1-4 in their last five games.
  • Oklahoma City beat the Bulls 101-69 in their first meeting.
  • In their all-time series, Oklahoma City is 71-73 against the Bulls.
  • Since moving to Oklahoma City, the Thunder are 11-7.
  • When the game is at the Peake, the Thunder are 9-8 vs. Chicago.
  • Oklahoma City has lost back-to-back games vs. the Bulls.
  • In their last time game, the Bulls were spanked by the Spurs 133-94 on Saturday.
  • Justin Holiday (personal) is out.
  • David Nwaba (ankle) is a game-time decision.
  • Zach LaVine (knee) is out.
  • Nikola Mirtoic (face) is out.
  • Cameron Payne (foot) is out.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Chicago came on Oct. 28, 2017, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 101-69 (32-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (28 points) vs. Chicago occurred during an 100-128 loss on Feb. 1, 2017.

NEW FACES

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder added a bunch of new faces this year.
  • Paul George was acquired on June 30 for Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo.
  • Carmelo Anthony joins the Thunder after Oklahoma City sent Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a second round pick to the Knicks for Anthony.
  • Oklahoma City also signed Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson via free agency.
  • Terrance Ferguson was drafted in the first round out of Australia.
  • Oklahoma City also added PJ Dozier, undrafted rookie out of South Carolina to a two-way deal.

OK3

  • The trio of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony combined for 5,992 total points last season, which is the most by any other set of three teammates in the league this year. They are followed by Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler (5,810 combined points) and Cleveland’s Isaiah Thomas, LeBron James and Derrick Rose (5,307 combined points).

Anthony moving up the ranks

  • Carmelo Anthony currently ranks 24th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (24,399 points) and fourth among active players behind Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James and Vince Carter.
  • Anthony is also one of six players in league history alongside Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce to record 24,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, 2,500 assists, 1,000 steals and 1,000 three-point field goals.

Turnover a New Leaf

  • Through the first ten games of the season, Oklahoma City leads the league in both steals per game (10.60) and opponent turnovers per game (19.0).
  • The Thunder has yet to finish within the Top 5 in the NBA in these categories since they moved to Oklahoma City as their previous season bests were 8.28 steals per game in 2012-13 and 15.2 opponent turnovers per game in 2013-14.
  • Additionally, the Thunder tops the NBA leaderboard for deflections per game (19.2) and forced turnovers on 19.6% of opponent possessions, which tops the league.
  • Paul George ranks first in the league in deflections per game (4.8) and in steals per game (2.40)

Adamsant Scorer

  • Steven Adams currently ranks second in the league in field goal percentage (.676, 48-71 FG).
  • On Oct. 27 at Minnesota, Adams went 8-for-8 through the third quarter, which is his personal best start from the field.
  • As a point of reference, the Thunder record from the floor is held by Serge Ibaka when he went 12-for-12 on 1/31/14.
  • He has scored in double figures in six of the first seven games and led the team in rebounding four times while posting four double-doubles.

Injury Report

  • Steven Adams (calf) is out.
  • Carmelo Anthony (back) is a game-time decision.

Still good odds

  • According to Sportsbook, the Oklahoma City Thunder have the sixth best odds to win the Larry O’Brien trophy.
  • They have the fourth best odds to win the Western Conference behind, the Clippers, Spurs, Rockets, and the Warriors.

Next Up

  • The Thunder goes to San Antonio on Friday to play the Spurs. ESPN has your 7 p.m. broadcast.
  • Oklahoma City then goes to the Pelicans on Monday, Nov. 20.
  • Then, the Thunder host the Warriors on Nov. 22.

Three Keys to the Game

Score

The Bulls offense is the NBA’s worst offense. Oklahoma City needs to go out and score and put this game into Lawler’s Law. The Bulls are 0-6 when their opponents hit the 100-point mark. So, get to 100 points and you win the game.

Share the ball

Like rebounding, sharing the ball can be key. Oklahoma City is a cool 4-2 when Russell Westbrook has 10 or more assists. If the MVP gets 10, you might as well chalk up a W tonight. Hopefully he doesn’t try to do it all tonight.

Get to the line

Oklahoma City has done a good job getting to the line during their last two wins. However, they have yet to hit 30 free throw attempts. The Thunder are 4-2 when they attempt more free throws than their opponent. Maybe that’s something they can do tonight.

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OKC still interested in Rudy Gay

The former Sacramento King small forward Rudy Gay is still on the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s radar.

According to The Vertical‘s Adrian Wojnarowksi, the soon to be free agent will be hosting suitors in Austin, Texas while the Thunder “continues to be a team that sees fit.”

Ever since the departure of Kevin Durant, Gay and Oklahoma City have been linked in numerous trade rumors prior to the achilles injury he sustained on January 18 against the Indiana Pacers. At the time, Gay and former Thunder back up point guard Cameron Payne were linked in a potential deal.

It is unclear what role Gay’s achilles tear will play in his free agency experience. As Fred Katz of the Norman Transcript points out, players who have suffered a similar injury — such as Dallas Maverick Wes Mathews — have never fully bounced back from an achilles tear.

Considering Oklahoma City is near the tax, the Thunder may not extend the full mid-level extension towards Gay as that would hard cap them, according to Katz.

The fit is a little puzzling. While his position is that of a small forward, Gay has experience playing power forward in small ball lineups. Not typically known for his rebounding or defense, the experiments in Sacramento at PF did not yield pleasing results.

The Thunder have plenty of bigs at the PF and center positions.

His shooting skills, scoring and offensive versatility are what Thunder general manager Sam Presti probably see in potentially adding him in free agency.

Prior to his injury, Gay was averaging 18.7 points per game on 45 percent shooting to go along with 37 percent from beyond the arc. The former University of Connecticut Husky is a career 18.4 point scorer and averages just over five rebounds per game.

Free agency meetings can begin on Saturday, July 1 at 12:01 a.m.

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Player Grades: The bench

The Thunder certainly had a season that they can be proud of after the slap in the face that ruined July 4 for Thunder fans everywhere.

There are several gaps that need to be filled if this team hopes to compete for a title during the Westbrook era, assuming he signs the “super max” deal this July which would be the biggest contract in NBA history. The Thunder made headlines at the trade deadline after acquiring Doug McDermott and Taj Gibson from the Bulls in exchange for Anthony Morrow and Cameron Payne, which was a steal for the organization in terms of what the Thunder were lacking which was a sharp shooter from three to spread the floor and a veteran big man with experience to bring positive energy to the locker room.

Even though the trade was in the Thunder’s favor, they still lack a deep and productive secondary unit to get the weight off Westbrook’s shoulders. Fans who religiously watch Thunder basketball all have that one player that comes to mind that when they are on the court or have the ball in their hands, they make you want to throw the remote at the TV.

Here we rank and grade the Thunder’s bench  players of the 2016-17 season in terms of productivity and minutes played per game.

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Who is the worst Thunder player ever?

Oklahoma City just finished up their ninth season. Oklahoma City has seen some fantastic players come through and some truly bad players. However, has been the worst of them all?

To set down a list of worst players of all-time, we have to need criteria:

Anyone can be really bad player in only couple of games. We need to limit it to at least 20 games played.

We’ll choose one person from every season, so that would narrow it down to nine players. If it’s the same player in multiple years, we’ll label them such Player 2010 and Player 2011.

We’ll factor in PER, PPG, FG%, eFG%, TS%, ORTG-DRTG adjustment, and RPM. We’ll give them a number ranking based on the team, and whoever has the HIGHEST average, meaning worst on the team, will be the worst.

Seasons in which a player is traded are ineligible for the list. Such as Kyle Singler’s first year in Oklahoma City in 2014-15, he was bad but since he was traded at the all-star break, he’s out. We’ll make a single exception, if said player appeared in 50 or more games.

Any player who spent time in the D-League that season is not out. Because you can go down and still come back up and perform.

So, without waiting, here are each worst player for each season.

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OKC fall late to Portland

Mar 2, 2017; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Taj Gibson (22) scramble for a ball on the floor during the second half of the game at Moda Center. The Blazers won 114-109. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

45 points from Russell Westbrook wasn’t enough as the Thunder couldn’t hold on in the fourth quarter. The Trail Blazers outscored the Thunder 33-24 in the fourth en route to a 114-109 win over Oklahoma City.

The Thunder fell to 35-26 on the season and are seventh in the Western Conference.

A 16-0 fourth quarter run saw the Portland Trail Blazers turn a 101-96 Thunder lead into a 110-101 Thunder deficit. It eventually became the point where Oklahoma City could not overcome.

Oklahoma City newcomer Taj Gibson added 15 points, including a high-arching buzzer-beater from 61 feet away to put the Thunder up 60-57 at halftime.

Enes Kanter had 18 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Steven Adams struggled with a cool -23 in the game. He scored only 2 points and was 1-of-3 from the floor.

Alex Abrines’ 3-pointer put the Thunder in front 97-89 with 7:48 left for their biggest lead of the game. But Al-Farouq Aminu made a layup that tied it at 101 with 3:43 left. He missed the free throw, but Jusuf Nurkic got the tip-in to give Portland the lead.

Lillard’s 3-pointer extended the lead to 106-101 before Westbrook’s driving layup and free throw pulled Oklahoma City to 110-106.

Abrines’ 3-pointer with 17.7 seconds left narrowed it to 110-109. Lillard was fouled twice in the final seconds and made all four free throws before Westbrook and Doug McDermott both missed 3-pointers at the end.

Westbrook hit all 15 of his free throws. He had eight rebounds and four assists.

The Thunder were coming off a 109-106 victory over Utah. Westbrook had 43 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in that game for his fourth straight triple-double and 30th of the season. The Thunder opened the game against the Jazz with 12 straight threes.

The Thunder were without Victor Oladipo for a fourth straight game because of back spasms. Abrines started in his place. Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan said he did not think the spasms were the sign of a more serious issue.

The game marked the Thunder debut of guard Norris Cole, signed on Wednesday to help fill the void after the team traded backup point guard Cameron Payne to the Chicago Bulls. Cole won NBA titles with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013, but most recently played with the Shandong Golden Stars of the Chinese Basketball Association.

Gibson and McDermott, acquired in the trade with the Bulls, were playing in their fourth game with the Thunder.

Portland took a 20-8 lead on Lillard’s layup and Nurkic’s short jumper. Oklahoma City went on a 16-6 spurt to close to 26-24 at the end of the opening quarter.

Cole hit a 3-pointer early in the second quarter, his first field goal with the team, and the Thunder went up 27-26. But the Blazers reclaimed the lead and went ahead 52-45 on Aminu’s 3-pointer.

CJ McCollum’s hit a three to give Portland a 57-48 lead. However, Westbrook made consecutive 3-pointers and three straight free throws to tie it before Gibson’s stunning shot from beyond halfcourt.

The Thunder led 85-81 heading into the final period.

Oklahoma City heads to Phoenix tonight to complete the back-to-back. Game time is set to tip-off at 8 p.m.

Keys to the Game

Play Smart: C

Oklahoma City struggled at points throughout the game but really overcome in the early parts of the game. Oklahoma City fought back but couldn’t close. The Thunder can and should do better going forward.

End Strong: F

It’s weird to talk bad about this category. Oklahoma City has done a great job all year of taking care in the final minutes of games. They were tied for the least losses in the fourth when leading. That changed tonight. Call it a blip on the radar. It’ll change back to normal when Oklahoma City gets Victor Oladipo back.

Capitalize on Blazer mistakes: C

Oklahoma City found themselves down early down 20-8. However, they clawed back and even took an 8-point lead. However, they couldn’t really make the Blazers pay when they needed and that was their down fall tonight.

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Could Oladipo be a backup point guard

Dec. 9, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Victor Oladipo (5) drives to the basket between Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) and forward Trevor Ariza (1) during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Victor Oladipo is arguably the second-best player on the Thunder roster.

His ability to slash to the rim and finish is great; his shooting stroke from the corners is even greater. He can defend and create on offense.

Oladipo is listed as a shooting guard, and he can play the position well. When he plays with Russell Westbrook passing him the ball, it makes his job much easier.

The past two games, Oladipo has been sidelined with back spasms. Alex Abrines has started in his place and played well. Abrines has made eight 3-pointer’s and scored a career-high 19 points against the Lakers on Friday night. He played 35 minutes against the Pelicans on Sunday night and he is relishing his first two starts of his NBA career.

Abrines has shown he is capable of starting in the NBA. His shooting ability helps space the floor with the starting unit, and if he continues to knock down shots it will make him more valuable to this team.

None of this is Oladipo’s fault. His health is important to this team with about a month and a half until the playoffs start. But with the recent trades and improvements to the roster, it gives Thunder coach Billy Donovan more flexibility with the roster.

Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott are both capable of starting. They both give you scoring on offense. Gibson is one of the best defensive bigs in the league and McDermott’s defense has improved greatly since he entered the league.

Donovan has a problem, but a good one. There’s a lot of talent on the roster and its hard to figure out minutes especially with the new pieces around.

When the Thunder traded away Cameron Payne, they lost a player who was the most reliable backup point guard on the roster. Semaj Christon is growing and needs to continue to play to grow his game, but the Thunder could benefit from Oladipo being the backup point guard.

Oladipo has come off the bench 57 times in his career. He’s started all 48 games he’s played with Oklahoma City, though Donovan has experimented with him in the backup role. Oladipo would go to the bench early and come back with the second unit. He wasn’t the point guard, but he handled the ball in the second unit a lot.

If Oladipo was the backup point guard, the starters could be Westbrook-Abrines-Roberson-Gibson/Sabonis-Adams. Oladipo could come off the bench while still playing 30 minutes a night. He’s playing 33.7 a game as a starter. The minutes wouldn’t change much.

Oladipo-McDermott-Grant/Sabonis-Kanter could be the players to make contributions of the bench. OKC would have three scorers coming off the bench with Oladipo, McDermott and Kanter. Sabonis and Grant could switch depending on matchups and if you need more offense or defense.

Therefore, Oladipo could be a backup point guard and help this team tremendously. His ability to create off the dribble and score would open up the bench’s offense and help the team become stronger heading into the playoffs.

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Thunder acquire Doug McDermott and Taj Gibson for Payne, Morrow, Lauvergne, and pick

The Thunder and Sam Presti have done it again. Shortly before the trade deadline was reached, Oklahoma City is sending Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Anthony Morrow to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for a second round draft pick, Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott.

Cameron Payne, second year out of Murray State struggled last season and the 14th overall pick in the 2015 draft has yet to come on after being injured in the summer. Oklahoma City now has only two point guards to show for their roster. He’s averaging 5.3 points on 33 percent from the floor and only 30 percent from three. He had a lot of interest over the summer, primarily the Sacramento Kings. His foot injury nixed any opportunity for a trade.

Morrow was a beloved player who fell off the mountain. His shooting numbers plummeted and he’s really never really recovered. He’s shooting a career low 29.4 percent from three-point range. He’s averaging only 5.8 points per game, second lowest of his career.

Joffrey Lauvergne was acquired in training camp from Denver and he’s a stretch four who adamantly does not want to play the center position. He tries to shoot threes and struggles when he does. His defense leaves you guessing what he’s going to do as he makes unorthodox decisions that hurt his team.

Gibson who is only 31 years old, has been a staple in Chicago for many years. This season Gibson is averaging 11.6 points and seven rebounds on 52.6 percent shooting from the floor.

While Gibson will be a significant upgrade over the youth of Domantas Sabonis, he’s on an expiring contract this season. He’s making $9 million this season.

Fun fact about Gibson: He was originally drafted by Chicago in 2009 with the first round draft pick Oklahoma City sent to Chicago in exchange for Thabo Sefolosha.

McDermott was a three-time First-Team All-American at Creighton. He averaged 21.7 points in his four years as a Blue Jay.

McDermott is averaging a career high 10.2 points per game on 37.6 percent from deep, also a career high, and 44.5 percent from the floor. His 25 minutes a contest are also a career high.

While McDermott can shoot the lights out, his defense leaves little to be desired. His defensive rating of 113 rivals that of Anthony Morrow. In fact, their offensive and defensive ratings are almost identical.

He’s set to make $2.4 million this season and the Bulls already picked up his option for 2017-18, giving him $3.3 million next season. He’ll be a restricted free agent if no one can sign him by Halloween.

Oklahoma City also acquired a second round pick from Chicago in the upcoming draft. That’ll provide Oklahoma City with a few more assets. They also used some of their trade exception from acquiring Jerami Grant to finish off the deal.

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A look at Thunder’s trade assets

Oklahoma City and the trade deadline are synonymous with one another. While you never know what the Thunder and Sam Presti are going to do, they’ve been active in literally every trade deadline since they’ve moved to Oklahoma City. They’ve made some sort of trade every year. Even if it’s something small like a trade exception or maybe trading Jeff Green for Kendrick Perkins.

In a post-Durant world, what can the Thunder do anyway? It’s a weird landscape they’re trying to maneuver through. They’re not contending any more. They’re fighting for their playoff lives right now, sitting seventh in the Western Conference.

Here are the Thunder’s assets and breakdown:

Traded Player Exceptions (TPEs):

  • $7.5 million dollar trade exception – Good until November 1, 2017 (Obtained from the Philadelphia 76ers in the Ersan Ilyasova for Jerami Grant trade – 11/01/2016)

Picks Obtained

  • Boston Celtics 2018 second round pick – Protected 31-55. If the pick is not conveyed in 2018, then the obligation to Oklahoma City expires (Obtained in the Perry Jones trade – 07/14/2015)

Picks Owed:

  • 2017 Second round pick to Denver Nuggets – Pick traded to Denver in the Joffrey Lauvergne trade – 8/30/2016
  • 2018 First round pick to Utah Jazz – Lottery protected until 2020. If no pick is conveyed by 2020, the Jazz will receive the Thunder’s 2nd round picks in 2021 and 2022. (Pick traded to Utah for Enes Kanter and Steve Novak – 02/19/2015)
  • 2020 First round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers – Top 20 protected until 2021. If the first round pick is not conveyed by 2021, then the Thunder will send their 2nd round pick in 2022 and 2023 to Philadelphia. (Pick traded to Philadelphia for Jerami Grant – 11/01/2016)

Euro Stashes (that the team is actually keeping tabs on and developing):

  • None currently

Domestic Stashes (Players the Thunder drafted (or have the rights to) who have yet to sign a pro contract):

  • Dakari Johnson – No. 48 selected in the 2015 NBA draft – currently playing for the Oklahoma City Blue.
  • Daniel Hamilton – No. 56 selected in the 2016 NBA draft – currently playing for the Oklahoma City Blue.

Financial Situation

  • Salary Cap: $94,143,000 — Luxury line: $113,287,000
  • Thunder currently: $86,919,117
  • Oklahoma City is $7,223,883 under the salary cap, 23rd highest in the NBA.
  • They’re $26,367,883 below the luxury tax line.
  • The Thunder have $109.4 million committed for the 2017-18 NBA season, fourth most in the NBA currrently.

Roster breakdowns

  • Oklahoma City currently has 15 guaranteed contracts
  • Nick Collison, Anthony Morrow, and Joffrey Lauvergne are the only expiring contracts

Needs

  • Small Forward – Kyle Singler, Jerami Grant, and Andre Roberson aren’t cutting in. Roberson playing at the three is really out of position. He’s a two-guard.
  • Power Forward – While Domantas Sabonis is a rookie and learning, he’s the worst starting power forward based off PIE and PER for all 30 NBA starters.
  • Backup point guard – Semaj Christon and Cameron Payne aren’t up to snuff and this could be improved through trades.

Players potentially moved

  • Cameron Payne – PG – second year point guard, coming off an injury. Has been linked to Sacramento earlier this season.
  • Enes Kanter – PF/C – Kanter has 1-2 years left on his deal, depending if he opts in on his final season. At $17.8 million next season, it’s a middle of the road contract and could be moved for the right price.
  • Kyle Singler – SF – Singler hasn’t been living up to his expectations after shooting over 37 percent in Detroit. He’s a bench warmer and a fan unfavorite.
  • Andre Roberson – SG – While Roberson’s defensive ability is one of the better ones in the association. His offense is lacking and that’s caused some contract issues with him and the Thunder. The reported prices from each were drastically different.All are potential and no real trade rumors have been linked to them unless it’s been accredited with a link.

Potential targets

  • Wilson Chandler – Denver, SF/PF – Chandler is the perfect fit and has been linked to Oklahoma City off and on but the Nuggets are looking for at least a protected first for him.
  • Carmelo Anthony – New York, SF – Given the source, Amico, it was still linked. Take with a grain of salt. Amico is wrong more often than he’s right.
  • PJ Tucker – Phoenix, SF – Like Chandler, he’s been linked to Oklahoma City on numerous occasions but could be a decent and cheap player to trade for. The Suns want a young player and/or assets in return.
  • Terrence Jones – New Orleans, PF – Jones is on a player minimum contract and could be a decent help for Domas Sabonis. The Pelicans want to move Jones after acquiring DeMarcus Cousins on Sunday night. They could off load him for little to nothing.
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Thunder come back from 17 down, beat Knicks before All-Star Break

Feb 15, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) reacts after scoring against the New York Knicks during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It was inevitable Russell Westbrook would take over another game for the Thunder.

His fourth quarter performances have been nothing short of spectacular this season, often going on scoring barrages that leave opposing teams cross-eyed and clueless as to what just transpired on the court.

His latest effort helped the Thunder get the job done again. Oklahoma City beat the Knicks 116-105 Wednesday night and Westbrook helped make the All-Star break sweeter for the Thunder.

The Thunder have nine days off before the Lakers come to Chesapeake Energy Arena. But Wednesday was still an important game; Westbrook make that known before shoot around.

His 27th triple-double of the season – 38 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists – was another showing of his incredible performances this season. The triple-double was his third quickest of the season.

His fourth quarter takeover started when Westbrook ran to the perimeter after he missed a free throw. Westbrook was matched up with Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony.

Westbrook sized up Anthony, crossed him over before stepping back and hitting a three over Anthony’s out-stretched arm. Westbrook then held up three fingers to his head – a signature move of Anthony’s – as the Knick ran past. The shot put OKC up 105-94 with 5:09 remaining.

The next possession, Westbrook sized up his defender and knocked down another 3-pointer after a Thunder offensive rebound. The next Knicks’ possession, he blocked Derrick Rose’s layup attempt and got his 12th assist off a Jerami Grant three. That shot put OKC up 111-96 and ended the Knicks’ hopes of a comeback on the plains.

But Westbrook wasn’t done. With 1:36 left, Westbrook stole a pass from Kristaps Porzingis and annihilated yet another rim. Westbrook finished off the Knicks, but its the Thunder’s defense that won them the game.

Anthony scored 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the first quarter. He made his first seven shots and OKC was down by 17 at one time. The Knicks scored 39 points in the first quarter and led by 12 going into the second.

Over the second and third quarters, the Thunder held the Knicks to 41 points and OKC led by eight going into the final period. Andre Roberson helped cool Anthony off. After the first quarter, Anthony shot 4-of-12 and scored 11 points. Rose scored 25 points, but no Knick could stop the incoming Westbrook takeover.

Victor Oladipo scored 21 points and Grant had 13 points to help the Thunder to a 32-25 record heading into the All-Star break. Their offense helped the Thunder outscore the Knicks 26-20 in the third quarter, a period the Thunder have struggled in this season.

OKC shot 12-of-23 from the three-point line, capped off from Westbrook’s two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and an Oladipo three that beat the third quarter buzzer. The Thunder entered the game tied for last in the NBA in three-point percentage. But that didn’t hold them back tonight.

Anthony scored his 29th and 30th points on a turnaround fadeaway to help bring the Knicks within seven, down 101-94 with 5:31 left. Then it was Westbrook’s time for another fourth quarter barrage.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Defend the three: B-

The Thunder survived a onslaught of three-pointers from the Knicks to start the game. New York made 6-of-8 threes in the first period and helped them start quickly. They made five 3-pointers the rest of the game and the Thunder found a way to contain the perimeter.

Rebound: A

OKC had 48 rebounds and 12 offensive rebounds to the Knicks 39 rebounds and six offensive boards. On the first Thunder possession, they grabbed three offensive boards and set a tempo for the rest of the game that they were going to control the glass.

Hey Bench, show up: B-

The Thunder’s bench scored 30 points, led by Grant’s 13. The Knicks’ bench scored 15 points. Cameron Payne didn’t shoot well (0-of-6) but was creating offense and helped space the floor for a unit that has struggled with Enes Kanter’s absence.

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Thunder dominated in DC; 120-98

Feb 13, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) shoots over Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (13) during the first quarter at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder (31-25) were thoroughly dominated by the streaking Washington Wizards (33-21) 120-98. Despite an early push to make the game competitive, the Thunder just had little in the tank tonight.

Oklahoma City found themselves in a hole to start the game, finding themselves down as much as 16 in the first quarter. A second unit burst led by 5-8 three point shooting from the bench in the first half, game Thunder fans hope for a solid road victory in the first half.

Then the third quarter reared its ugly head again.

While Oklahoma City entered the second half down 12, there was still hope. A 34-19 third quarter squashed any and all hope for a good game.

“We just weren’t ready to play,” Russell Westbrook said, who finished with 17 points and four rebounds and assists each in a season low 24 minutes.

Westbrook’s plus/minus resulted in a career worst -36.

It is easy to assume that the Thunder were simply hungover from the emotional loss Saturday night against the Golden State Warriors. Make no mistake, the Wizards are one of the better teams in the NBA and should have had the Thunder’s full attention. According to their leader, Westbrook, Oklahoma City was not ready to play.

“I think guys have been playing hard, but we’ve gotta consistently play hard,” Anthony Morrow shared. “We didn’t bring that today. We gotta have an edge every time we step on the court.”

Morrow finished with five points on 2-of-8 shooting.

Besides Westbrook, no starter broke double digits in scoring. Midway through the third quarter, when the Thunder were down 26 points, the starters were pulled and did not return to the game.

For a 10 minute game stretch, the Thunder missed 24 consecutive shots. It was that bad.

Billy Donovan revealed prior to the game that he was worried about the Thunder being emotionally drained heading into the game.

“Prior to the game, we were not at the level I am accustomed of seeing. That’s what this NBA season is, 82 games,” Donovan said.

The Wizards were led by John Wall who had 15 points and 14 assists. As a team the Wizards shot a sizzling 62 percent from the three point line. Bradley Beal and Markieff Morris combined for 45 points on 15-of-22 shooting.

Despite the disastrous result, Joffrey Lauvergne had an exceptional game, fishing with 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Cameron Payne continued his recent upswing in production by 12 points and shooting 2-of-4 from the three point line. The second year Frenchman was one of the few players who appeared to be in tune with the game.

Oklahoma City will return to the Chesapeake Arena for a Wednesday match against the New York Knicks. It will be the final game before the All-Star break.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Start quickly F

While the Thunder brought the deficit to single digits, the score early in the first at one point was 22-6. The Thunder were not ready for this game and it showed in the opening minutes.

Limit Wizard’s FT attempts F

It had little affect on the game, but Washington’s 28 free throw attempts — and 23 makes — were an indication of the Thunder’s lack of readiness level for the game. Oklahoma City actually shot more three throws — 30 — but the Wizards got to the line too often when it mattered in the close portions of the game.

Hey Bench, show up F 

The Thunder scored 60 bench points but it was mainly out of necessity due to Donovan pulling the starters in the third quarter. When Oklahoma City needed a push from their second unit, there was nothing to be found. The loss of Enes Kanter continues to haunt this team weeks after his injury.

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