Russell Westbrook 17 Points, 10 Rebounds, 10 Assists. Triple Double!
No Kevin Durant, no Jeff Green, no problem? Damn right! A total team effort tonight as the Thunder DOMINATE the Mavericks throughout most of the night. Oklahoma City really took this ballgame over in the 3rd quarter, with a pesky, in your face style of defense, that seemed to really bother the Mavericks. Dallas was outscored 31-15 in the 3rd quarter, and trailed by as many as 23 points. Sounds like an easy win doesn't it? Not quite, the Thunder came out in the 4th quarter struggling to get a basket as the Mavericks went on a 16-2 run to start the quarter. In the end though, the closest they would get was a 4 point deficit, as the Thunder retook control, late, and finished out the game. It was an impressive feat for a team thats struggled to close out games this season.
The guy who really stepped up huge tonight was Nenad Krstic, who scored a season high 26 points to go with 6 Rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks. He came out and produced for us with our top two scorers sidelined by injuries. His counterpart, Nick Collison, while only scoring 2 points, came up huge in the little ways by grabbing 9 rebounds, and dishing out 1 assist, to go with a steal, and one block.
The maturation of our other youth players took a MAJOR step forward tonight. I'm talking about Kyle Weaver, and Russell Westbrook. As you saw at the top of this post, Russell Westbrook had his first ever Triple-Double, by scoring 17 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and dishing out 10 assists. It was probably his most well rounded performance to date, since stepping in as the full time point guard. Kyle Weaver continues to make the best of his opportunities as well, and stepped right in there tonight, once again. 18 points, 3 boards, and 4 assists, not bad, not bad at all Mr Weaver.
You also had the new guys stepping up and really contributing too, first and foremost, Thabo Sefolosha. Thabo is quickly becoming one of my favorite players to watch on this team because of the way he plays the game. The guy is a hustler, a go getter, a get after it, type of player, and I think he is definitely beginning to off on the rest of this team. Since his acquisition, the defensive intensity has gone considerably up from what it was previous. Thabo contributed 15 points, 2 assists, 7 boards, and 1 bock. Even Malik Rose got in on the action, and in particular hit a BIG SHOT in the 4th quarter to stop the bleeding during that huge run the Mavericks were making early in the 4th. He scored 7 points and had 5 rebounds and 2 assists.
It seemed like everyone was getting into the mix tonight, a true, total team effort. Even Damien Wilkins, who hasn't contributed much to this team in a very long while, came up with some big shots on his way to 7 points. Robert Swift is another guy who hasn't contributed much in a long time put in some solid minutes to go with a modest 4 points.
This is probably the most impressive win this team has had in its short history for a number of reasons. The Mavericks are a playoff caliber team, and to beat them in the manner they did tonight, shows the strides this team has made this season. Whats more impressive, is of course, that they did it without their two biggest scoring threats. They came out, played hard, played as a team, and got a huge win!
That makes two wins in a row, and they have a great oppertunity to make it 3 in a row on Wednesday as the hapless Warriors make their way down to Loud City. I'm excited! 3 wins in a row, is truly, a step in the right direction for this team. How can you not love these guys?
....oh and PS Russell Westbrook was named Rookie of the Month (Western Conference)...AGAIN! Go RW0!