Brodie ball game; Westbrooks' game winner lifts Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder returned from the All star break for a road tilt with the lowly Sacramento Kings. Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony said after the All star break it is "Show time." Boy, did Oklahoma City put on a show in the first quarter.
The Thunder jumped all over the Kings, going up 23-points with a snap of a finger. The aforementioned Carmelo Anthony was sizzling, going 7-of-12 from behind the arc, and turning in 23-points to the tune of 47% shooting from the field.
However, after winning the first quarter quarter 44-21, the Thunder dropped the next two quarters 39-23, and 30-18.
Russell Westbrook racked up another triple-double, but did not play all that well. He hit just 28% of his shots from the field, and turned the ball over 7-times.
Zach Randolph absolutely dominated the Thunder. He posted a 29-point effort, and pulled down 12-rebounds.
The Thunder still have not found their answer at shooting guard since losing Andre Roberson. Head coach Billy Donovan has tried everything. Alex Abrines does not work in most match ups, Terrence Ferguson was a minus-23 in tonights game, and for some reason despite his solid start to tonights game, Josh Huestis can not earn more minutes.
OKC as a team shot 44% from the field, and 39% from behind the arc. The biggest sign of encouragement in a discouraging game, was the fact the Thunder shot 83% from the charity stripe.
All-in-all, this game was very mid-November like. The Thunder started red-hot, and looked sharp, focused, and ready to go. They then tampered off in the middle two quarters, before waking back up for the final quarter, when it may-or-may-not be too late.
All hope was lost when the Thunder allowed two put-back chances as the final seconds were ticking off the clock, and the Kings hit a lay-up to tie it, leaving OKC one second on the clock. A game in which the Thunder held a 20-point lead, now looks to be heading to overtime with one of the worst teams in basketball, meaning potentially another loss to a subpar team. However, a beautiful play drawn up by Thunder head coach Billy Donovan out of the time out; a pin-down screen that left Russell Westbrook open at the top of the key for three. Melo found him, Russell Westbrook pulled it, and he nailed it as the final buzzer sounds in Sac-town. As Russell Westbrook ran back to his bench, jumping for joy, and teammates mobbing all around him, it was impossible not to think: "How?"
Many Thunder fans watched the play unfold while muttering "No, No, NO!" to themselves, wondering why the play was not designed for Paul George, OKC's best shooter. However, as the ball fell through the bottom of the net, those no's quickly turned into "YES!" and spilled coffee as fans brave the late-night west coast start, they were rewarded.
In a heated race in the Western conference, that has the Thunder equally as close to out-of-the-playoffs, as it does all the way up to the 3-seed, any win is huge, not matter how ugly. And this was ugly. Oklahoma City now sits at 33-26. Their next game will be Saturday Night, a prime-time clash in the bay area against the Warriors.
Final: 110-107, Oklahoma City.
Star of the game: Carmelo Anthony, 23-points on 47%-shooting (58% from behind the arc)