By Randy Renner
Russell Westbrook had yet another triple-double, his sixth in the last eight games, and Enes Kanter produced another monster game with 23 points and 15 rebounds, nine of them off the offensive glass, to lead the Thunder past the short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves 113-99.
Westbrook finished with 29 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. He was credited with that 10th board when scoring officials reviewed a replay.
The downside to the game was Serge Ibaka. He didn't play for the first time this season because of what was described as soreness in his right knee. Ibaka is being listed as day-to-day and hopefully will be able to return for Sunday's game against Chicago.
Rookie forward Mitch McGary stepped in though and stepped up. In his first ever NBA starting assignment the rookie from Michigan scored 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting and he ran the floor very well. In fact, both McGary and Kanter led fast breaks, something head coach Scott Brooks would prefer not to see.
"We have a point guard and we have bigs and they're called that for a reason," but then Brooks smiled and added, "that being said they both made great basketball plays."
Dion Waiters also stepped into a starting role Friday night, replacing Kyle Singler at small forward. Singler has struggled lately while filling in for Kevin Durant. Waiters ended up with 12 points but he was just 3-for-12 shooting.
One thing all these injuries have done for the Thunder is given their backup players chances to shine and they've given Brooks several chances to mix and match and experiment with a diverse and deep roster.
Once Durant finally comes back there will be more adjusting but so far this team has shown it can deal with a lot of change and a lot of adversity.