New Year, New Thunder in Win
Russell Westbrook (nine points on four of 22 shooting) took all accountability for OKC’s struggles in their 105-103 loss on Sunday. Monday was a new day and new mind set and it showed.
The Thunder got off to a hot start jumping out to an eight-two lead. That included two dunks from Westbrook and Paul George. George had been critical of the officiating in Sunday’s loss. The officials made their presence known early in the second night of a back to back. Abdel Nader had three fouls alone in the first quarter. There 17 foul calls total in the first stanza.
Despite all the fouls, Paul George got loose going for 16 points. Russell Westbrook had eight points, but it was an efficient six on three of five shooting. OKC had 32-21 at the end of one.
In the second, it was more of the same from Westbrook and George. By halftime, Westbrook had drained four different mid range jump shots kissing off the side of the glass. Westbrook had 18 at the break on seven of 12 shooting. Defensively the Thunder made big strides as well. Inside and out. Jerami Grant swatted Deandre Jordan at the rim to prevent a dunk. Plus, the Mavericks hit just two three’s out of 14 attempts, 14 percent. No Mavs player was in double figures at the break.
OKC held a 60-43 advantage at halftime.
In the second half, Dallas went on a mini run which was very similar to the one they ran off on Sunday. But it wouldn’t work like it did. Jerami Grant went crazy. He abused the rim all game long with a couple of slams and an impressive alley oop from Russell Westbrook. Russell Westbrook continued his stroke. Through three quarters, Russ still hadn’t taken a three pointer, until he fired one up with just over two minutes to go in the quarter. His mid range game was deadly. He used the glass more on those shots. Westbrook finished the third with 28 on 12 of 22 shooting.
Dallas attempted to hack-a-Adams, to no avail. The Mavs were so flustered, they were out of timeouts by the middle of the third. OKC had a 92-75 lead after three.
In the fourth, it was all but academic. OKC held on to their lead throughout as OKC held on to win 122-102. The Thunder forced a franchise record 29 turnovers in the win.
Paul George had 26, Jerami Grant poured in 16, as six Thunder players finished in double figures. However the star of the show was Russell Westbrook. Russ notched his 114th triple-double with 32 points (on 13-24 shooting), 11 rebounds and 11 assists.
Next up for the Thunder, they travel to LA to take on the Los Angeles Lakers.