By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
Russell Westbrook did not have one of his better shooting nights, had one of his worst actually going just 2-for-12 through three quarters and finishing 4-for-18.
But the future Hall of Famer didn’t let his shooting troubles impact the rest of his game as he picked up his 28th triple double of the season with 17 points, 18 rebounds and 17 assists leading the Thunder to a 110-93 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
It’s just the ninth time in the last 32 years a player has had a 15-15-15 game but it’s the second time Westbrook has accomplished it in his career.
“Russell Impacted the game in so many ways,” said head coach Billy Donovan. “I know he didn’t shoot the ball particularly well but with the rebounds and the assists and the way he got guys involved, he was terrific tonight, just phenomenal.”
Two guys who benefitted quite a bit from Westbrook’s game were Alex Abrines and Andre Roberson. Abrines started his first game when Victor Oladipo wasn’t able to go because of back spasms.
Westbrook consistently found an open Abrines out on the perimeter and the Spaniard responded by hitting five 3s and scoring a career-high 19 points.
“Alex has great poise,” Donovan said. “He has a calmness about himself and he has a great feel for the game.”
Roberson also dropped a career-high on the Lakers with 19 points on 8-for-9 shooting overall and 3-for-3 on threes. The eight made field goals are also a career-high and the three 3s ties a career high.
“I thought they both did a terrific job,” said Donovan of the duo.
Roberson also grabbed seven rebounds and had a steal and a block.
And then there were the new guys and the return of Enes Kanter. Kanter struggled shooting in his first game back from a broken right arm, going just 2-for-12 but as he gets his rhythm back his numbers should get better.
As for Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, their debuts as members of the Thunder went probably better than most might have expected.
Gibson had 12 points and four rebounds and McDermott had eight and four. The pair admitted they were very tired after flying into Oklahoma City at midnight after being traded to the Thunder and then getting out of bed early to begin physicals and paperwork for their team.
“I thought they did really, really well,” said Donovan. “They didn’t get a chance to go through shootaround, we spent about 15 minutes with them on the court going over some plays and terminology. They asked a lot of questions in timeouts so considering everything they were great.”
Steven Adams turned in what’s becoming a pretty normal game for him 15 points and 10 rebounds and Jerami Grant added seven points on 3-for-3 shooting.
OKC held the Lakers to just 39.6 percent shooting overall and 20.0 percent (7-for-35) on threes.
The biggest problem the Thunder had was holding onto the ball. They turned it over 17 times and on several of those the Lakers turned the giveaway into transition points. L.A. scored a whopping 28 points off those Thunder turnovers, scoring 22 on 10-for-13 shooting in fast break situations.
Some of that can be attributed to guys getting used to new situations and new teammates. A few days of practice should help.
The Thunder will host the new-look New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday evening and then the Utah Jazz, now leading the Northwest Division, in what has become a showdown game on Tuesday night.