Russell Westbrook did his best to carry the Oklahoma City Thunder, but fell just short in Monday night's 110-108 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Steven Adams’ potential game-tying dunk came just after the buzzer and was waved off.
With Victor Oladipo (wrist) out of the rotation for the fourth-straight game, the Thunder had to lean on Westbrook to do most of the heavy lifting. In 35 minutes on the floor, Westbrook put up 46 points on 48.5 FG%, 11 rebounds and seven assists with only four turnovers. Andre Roberson played a whole 39 minutes, had 14 points and a fun sequence in the third quarter with back-to-back three pointers.
Never looked forward to anything more in my life than an Andre Roberson heat check.— Royce Young (@royceyoung) December 20, 2016
Dwight Howard sat out for the Hawks. In his stead, Paul Millsap put Atlanta on his back with 30 points (66.7 FG%) and 11 rebounds in 39 minutes. Dennis Schröder was very efficient with 31 points (62.5 FG%), five rebounds and eight assists in 39 minutes as well.
The narrative of triple doubles is getting annoying to Westbrook, but what should really be grinding his gears is the closing lineup that the Thunder put out tonight in crunch time. Closing a game with Singler, Morrow, Grant and Adams is not a best case scenario. Without Oladipo, and a lack of shooting on the roster, Westbrook was forced into more than enough bad situations down the stretch of the fourth quarter. There were a few questionable no-calls in the game’s final possessions for OKC. Subsequently, the NBA’s officiating final two-minute report should be interesting tomorrow.
The Thunder fall to 16-12, 7th in Western Conference standings, and will meet the Pelicans in New Orleans Wednesday night.