Despite the late scare, Enes Kanter scored a season high 29 points as Oklahoma City beat the Sacramento Kings 122-118.
Enes Kanter, who played 32 minutes as Steven Adams left with concussion-like symptoms, dominated the head-to-head duo against DeMarcus Cousins.
“Right now he has concussion-like symptoms,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “That’s all we know for now.”
Kanter scored 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting and 12 rebounds.
“I thought we played really good defense donithgt, except for the last couple of minutes,” Donovan said.
Kanter lit up the Kings in the first half, scoring 14 points and nine rebounds. He was all over the place. His defense though, where he shined. He helped limit Cousins to only eight made baskets on 20 shots.
“What I try to do is hold him to a stand of what I think he can do,” Donovan said of Kanter. “I told him for as good as you are offensively is crazy you come off the floor because of your defense.”
Oklahoma City led early and often against the Kings, leading by as many as 17 in the first half.
The Thunded led 59-46 at halftime.
Sacramento made a run to open the second half, going on a 9-0 run, getting within seven. However, Russell Westbrook took ovver and helped push the lead back out to as many as 17 in the second half.
Victor Oladipo had 17 of his 23 points in the first half and Alex Abrines had 13 points. Oklahoma City had dropped three of its previous four games.
Westbrook finished with his 20th triple-double, 57th of his career, off back-to-back rebounds and a put back on a fast break. He finished with 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists.
The Kings battled back and twice cut the lead to three points in the final 25 seconds, but Abrines and Oladipo each made two free throws and Westbrook had a steal and layup to fend off Sacramento.
Westbrook made a pair of three-pointers and had seven points in an 80-second span to put the Thunder up by 15 just past the midway point in the fourth.
After a subpar first half where he missed frequent shots and committed five turnovers, Westbrook got going in the third quarter, scoring 11 points and helping the Thunder take an 88-79 lead into the fourth.
Oklahoma City hops on a plane and heads to head-to-head to play the L.A. Clippers for a Martin Luther Kings Jr. Day special game tomorrow night at 9:30 p.m. That game will tip-off on TNT.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Defend the three: D
The King shot 37.5 percent from deep, 9-of-24. A handful of those came late, especially in the final few minutes of the game. That alone helped keep the game close. They did do better than their previous trip to the Golden 1 Center. That’s probably the only thing keeping the Thunder from an F here.
Make your Free throws: A+
While it was not 90 percent or so, they still nailed down 80 percent of their shots tonight. Oklahoma City was 33-of-41 from the free throw line, both season highs. Oklahoma City did a good job of being continually aggressive and never letting up. It paid off for the Thunder.
Flex your muscles: A
Oklahoma City needed this win really bad, they got it. Oklahoma City found themselves in a bit of a dog fight before finally getting the win tonight, but they did enough. They were in complete control for 80 percent of this game. That’s what you wanted to see tonight ans we did.