By Addam Francisco
Tonight the Oklahoma City Thunder once again mourned the loss but not one, but two members of this close family. Part-owner Aubrey McClendon last week, and just Tuesday Dion Waiters' younger brother Demetrius Pinkney was shot and killed in Dion's hometown of Philadelphia. With heavy hearts, the Thunder had a huge offensive outburst against the Los Angeles Clippers that resulted in a 120-108 win Wednesday night on ESPN.
Everyone thought that this game would be one of those offensive types of games considering the teams playing, but it was verified when OKC went up 39-29 at the end of the first quarter. It was also clear that Russell would have one of "his games" too. At the end of the first quarter, he had 6 points and 8 assists.
The second quarter wasn't quite as explosive scoring 25 points but allowing 33 points, with the score being 64-62 at the half. At this point, there was a weird feeling in the arena where you could tell that people felt uneasy about the remainder of the game, especially considering what happened the last time the Thunder played the Clippers. However, at this point Russell was still dominating offensively with an early double-double, 17 points and 12 assists. Enes Kanter even came off the bench with 10 points off 5-of-5 shooting in just 8 minutes. The only criticism surrounding this team at that point was the lack of defense from Kevin Durant and Westbrook, as they were seen multiple times in the first half trotting or in some cases walking up the court on defense, which explains the big second quarter for the Clippers.
In the third quarter things somewhat picked up for Oklahoma City, they ramped it up defensively by only allowing 21 points from the Clippers, and Russell kept his amazing run going with 23 points and 16 assists, along with Kevin's 22 points and 11 rebounds. Serge Ibaka added 15 at this point. it was at this point, when it appeared like Oklahoma City may just pull this game out, they finally would finish strong.
That's exactly what they did in the fourth quarter. Not only did the second team maintain the lead, they slightly increased it to an 11 point lead at one point and when Russell substituted back into the game with about 7:30 left, he finished LAC off. His run ended with 25 points, 20 assists, and 10 rebounds, which is the first time any player had stats like that since perhaps the greatest point guard of all-time Magic Johnson did it in 1988, the year Russell was born. Kevin finished this game with 30 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists which is the seventh straight game he's had at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists...the last person to do that was Larry Bird. That's pretty good company for these two guys to be a part of, and it's amazing that the two players are on the same team.
Oklahoma City improves to (44-20) on the year, and widens the margin for the three seed to a 2.5 game lead over the Clippers. OKC's next game is against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Friday night at the Peake.