Russ Rules And Thunder Rolls
By Randy Renner
The Thunder decided to go all-in on offense Friday night, frequently using lineups that were shooter heavy, and Russell Westbrook turned in one of his most dominating performances to help lead the Thunder past the Golden State Warriors 127-115.
Westbrook had has ninth triple-double and it was a doozy with 17 points, a career-high 17 assists and a career-high tying 15 rebounds.
“I thought Russell was all over the floor," said head coach Scott Brooks, "I thought there was two of him out there, the way he was rebounding and moving our offense forward."
Westbrook also had four steals but he wasn't very talkative during postgame interviews which has become his new thing.
He answered question with a variation of "we did a good job of execution."
Not sure what's up with that but it doesn't really matter either. If he doesn't want to talk about one of the greatest games anyone here locally has seen live then so be it.
Westbrook wasn't the only one who turned in a steller performance. Thunder superstar Kevin Durant was unstoppable with 36 points on 14-for-18 shooting (3-for-5 from deep) while grabbing nine rebounds.
Serge Ibaka, who has seemed to be struggling lately on the offensive end, dropped 27 points on the Warriors, tying his career-high. 14 of those points came in the fourth quarter when he hit six of his seven shots. With Golden State trying to scramble to cover Durant and Westbrook, Ibaka frequently had an open lane to the basket or an open jumper after a kick-out and he made the Warriors pay almost every time.
Thunder newcomer Dion Waiters also benefited from the big night's KD and Russ were having. Waiters had his biggest night with the Thunder, scoring 21 points on 8-for-16 shooting and he nailed both threes he took.
In fact the Thunder were shockingly good from beyond the arc at both ends of the floor. OKC hit 10 long balls while limiting Golden State to nine. Thunder shot 45.5 percent from deep (10-for-22) and held the Warriors to 37.5 percent (9-for-24).
"They were great tonight," said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. "We knew they were going to come after us, they needed this win and they deserved it. They were brilliant."
Brilliant offensively for sure and they did control the 3-point line much better than in recent games but there were still enough defensive lapses to prevent Brooks from getting a good night's sleep.
But a win like this, especially coming after the Thunder had thrown up all over themselves in the first quarter in Houston the night before is a good sign that this team is ready to keep fighting.
Could it even be the jumping off point to a string of wins? The Thunder had scuffled around in their previous 13 games going just 6-7 and a five game road trip looms.
It's not going to be easy, but maybe, just maybe, this is finally where this snake-bit season starts to turn around.