As November fades, Russell Westbrook’s triple-double tear has monopolized the NBA’s sundry sounding board. While Russell rebounds, scores, and passes with precision, his Oklahoma City Thunder have claimed three-consecutive victories.
The latest triumph came opposite the home-standing New York Knicks. Another Thunder win, another all-around sublime effort from Oklahoma City’s thunderous superstar.
Westbrook’s 27 point, 18 rebound, and 14 assist masterstroke sustained an impressive 112-103 road showing, which places OKC at 11-8.
While Russ’ exploits duly dominated the post-game headlines, of equal importance was the unbridled charge of OKC’s bench (48 points) and collective defensive cohesion (39.6% Opp. FG, 31.6% Opp. 3PA).
Amid the Thunder’s modest winning streak, a stark upturn in stifling the opposition’s perimeter potency has been king. During OKC’s previous two outings, the re-focused grouping has held Detroit and New York to a combined 7-of-38 (.184%) from distance.
This is the calculable inverse of a porous 41.0% 3PA Oklahoma City yielded to brazen foes throughout a recent 3-7 stretch.
Now that all is seemingly balanced in OKC’s universe, here is a look at Monday night’s player-performance grades.
Russell Westbrook: A+
In a league of remarkable talent, Westbrook is nonpareil when it comes to reducing the monumental to but a banal blink. Opposite New York, the hard-charging MVP candidate amassed 27/18/14. The 6’3 guard seized eighteen rebounds from an imposing front-line that stands roughly seven-feet in net height.
There is no metric to mitigate Russ’ immense value to Oklahoma City basketball. The league-leader in triple-double performances has spearheaded the Thunder’s unblemished three-game run.
Enes Kanter: A+
An attuned Kanter corralled 27 points and 10 rebounds in twenty-eight minutes of work Monday night. More importantly, the perennial defensive punching bag led the Thunder in overall plus-minus (+15) and DefRtg (96.4 *<15-minutes).
Of late, Kanter has bolstered his offensive shine by shoring up his defensive deficiencies. Moving forward, this newfound two-way execution from the big Turk is essential to OKC’s success.
Andre Roberson: A-
In addition to a crucial crunch-time block, Andre Roberson’s three-point proficiency (2-4 3PA) provided all-important floor spacing for Oklahoma City’s offense. Tasked with guarding master scorer Carmelo Anthony, Roberson more than held his own, limiting Anthony to 4-of-19 shooting and just 18 pts (-4.9 under avg).
Meanwhile, the third-year defensive maestro proffered 10 pts, 3 rebs, 2 blks, and 1 stl on efficient 4-of-8 shooting.
Steven Adams: A-
Adams brought both physicality and excellent pick-and-roll execution to the table vs. New York. Statistically, the pride of New Zealand netted a double-double (14 pts, 10 rbs) effort while compiling the second-highest NetRtg (+8.7) among Thunder players to log 30-plus minutes.
The rough and rugged 23-year-old is beginning to make GM Sam Presti’s decision to offer an extension appear sage.
Anthony Morrow: A-
During Oklahoma City’s previous three contests, Morrow has provided an invaluable perimeter spark while averaging 15 ppg on a stellar shooting line of 63/61/75. Opposite the Knicks, the dead-eye veteran dropped 14 pts in 20 minutes.
Victor Oladipo: B
Though Oladiopo’s traditional stat line (8 pts, 0-4 3PA, 0 FTA) doesn’t leap off the screen, the newly-acquired Thunder’s value was so much more. V05’s NetRtg (+8.8) was highest among OKC starters. Furthermore, Oklahoma City outscored a feisty Knicks bunch by eight points with Oladipo in tow.
Joffrey Lauvergne: C+
Throughout his extended twenty minutes of court-time, Lauvergne wielded the second-highest DREB% (23.8) of all Thunder players. In total, “King Joffrey” contributed six points, five rebounds and an assist.
Lauvergne also fashioned a bounce-back game in the NetRtg column, finishing (+5.9)
Semaj Christon: C
The embattled back-up point guard remained mired in a scoreless drought (seven games, 0-of-7 FGA) yet shined in the Ast/TO ratio department (4/0). Further, in an 11-minute stint, Christon compiled a team-leading +30.6 NetRtg.
Jerami Grant: D
Grant’s offensive output (1 pt) vs. New York was forgettable. However, the team functioned marvelously during his 14 minutes of play (+24 NetRtg).
Domantas Sabonis D-
Normally a NetRtg standout, Domas’ -19.6 rating was by far a team low against New York. While allotted 16 minutes of run, Sabonis offered five points and one rebound, yet turned in an OKC low -eight plus/minus.
WTLC Game Ball vs. New York Knicks goes to...
After garnering an eighth overall triple-double — and three straight — Mr. Russell Westbrook takes top honors in this edition of the Oklahoma City Thunder player grades.
Tune in Wednesday night at 8 PM ET to find if Westbrook and his steamrolling Thunder can make magic happen for a fourth consecutive contest.