The Thunder celebrated Russell Westbrook’s 29th birthday with a second half burst to beat the Dallas Mavericks, 112-99. Paul George followed up his 42 point performance with 37 more last night. 29 of those came in the second half while 18 of Russ’ 27 also came after the halftime break.
This was all done without Carmelo Anthony, as he was a late scratch due to a sore back after battling Blake Griffin in the post in their previous game. OKC didn’t have to look far to fill the void, thanks to guys like Jerami Grant and Josh Huestis.
Jerami Grant got the start in place of Anthony last night and didn’t skip a beat, similar to Dakari Johnson on Friday against the Clippers. Again, more reason for Billy Donovan to place trust in his deeper rotation.
Grant had 10 points and 8 rebounds in his first start of the season. He was solid on both sides of the ball, and once again showed off his talents by providing us with a few highlights as he always does. Grant was +13 on the night.
Jerami Grant making the most of filling in for Melo pic.twitter.com/bsE26lSKOW— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) November 13, 2017
Josh Huestis gave Donovan 22 quality minutes last night, scoring a career high 9 points and, despite fouling out, was great off of the bench. His versatility will definitely come in handy down the road. He can play wing or power forward, and really causes problems for opponents on defense due to his length, especially on PnR switches. I get the feeling Donovan enjoys having him as a flexible option off the bench.
- Paul George has shot 22 free throws in the Thunder’s last two wins. He had 23 attempts in the 10 games prior. Attacking the rim more certainly suits him well.
- He also commented on the absence of Melo. MORE SHOTS
Paul George on changing his mindset when he found out Melo was out. pic.twitter.com/3DgIzqXjPv— Brett Dawson (@BDawsonWrites) November 13, 2017
- OKC shot 50% (36-72) from the field, which was their 2nd best shooting performance of the season.
- They put up their best game of the year from three, going 15-32.
- Westbrook was 12-13 from the free throw line. That’s a birthday present in itself.
- Don’t forget about Terrance Ferguson!
Terrance Ferguson. Rookie got bounce. pic.twitter.com/f9q67iEAnU— Up The Thunder (@UpTheThunder) November 13, 2017
- Russ came out sporting bright orange Jordan’s, but swapped them out at halftime for another pair.
Russ switched to the AJ XX8 SE at halftime. pic.twitter.com/HslJLPbD81— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) November 13, 2017
A Look Ahead
That’s now two straight wins for OKC, following four straight losses. They’ll have two days off before facing Chicago on Wednesday night, with a great opportunity to get back to .500. The Thunder beat the Bulls at the United Center by a score of 101-69 on October 28th.
The Bulls have been off since Saturday, but continue to struggle at 2-9. They limp into OKC on a 4 game losing streak but will be well rested nonetheless.