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Oklahoma City Thunder offense erupts late to down Brooklyn Nets 122-104; Westbrook triple-doubles again

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OKC dished 30 assists during a much-needed road victory; Westbrook gains triple-double #33

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Behind a potent second-half display, in a contest much closer than indicated by the final score, the Oklahoma City Thunder overcame a scrappy Brooklyn Nets homestand 122-104.

On this frigid New York night, Russell Westbrook (25 pts, 19 asts, 12 rebs) notched his third consecutive triple-double to match Oklahoma City’s unbeaten streak. OKC now sports an impressive 27-6 record when its brash leader triple-doubles.

And while Westbrook set the tone, his generous crew followed. Oklahoma City finished with 30 assists on 44 made baskets after burying the Nets 60-42 following halftime.

In total, ten Thunder appeared in the scorer’s column. Though Victor Oladipo (21), Taj Gibson (17), and Enes Kanter (17) supported Westbrook’s charge most.

Overall, Oklahoma City’s ready reserves outscored Brooklyn’s 41-20.

Although Brooklyn (12-54) owns the league’s worst record, Tuesday night, Kenny Atkinson’s men showcased no shortage of fortitude.

Standouts Brook Lopez (25) and Jeremy Lin (24) captained the Nets’ hard-fought defeat. While over-matched in talent, Brooklyn remained competitive for much of the contest by netting 12-of-24 3PM.

However, Oklahoma City’s 50/44 FG/3PM split, +14 rebs, and 22-9 second-chance point advantage was too much for the Nets to overcome.

The Thunder (38-29) now holds a full-game lead on Memphis for the Western Conference’s #6 seed as 15 contests remain.

Oklahoma City next takes the court Thursday vs. the Toronto Raptors.

Thunder Pro’s

  • Russell Westbrook’s court awareness: Westbrook entered tonight’s affair determined to involve his teammates. And with 19 assists, he did just that.
  • Taj Gibson’s toughness: The gritty veteran fits perfectly with OKC’s opening lineup. Oklahoma City is 3-0 when Gibson (17 pts, 8 rebs) starts.
  • Victor Oladipo’s continued strong play: Oladipo’s blend of spot-up shooting and off-dribble effectiveness has helped pull the Thunder from a steep hole over the past week.
  • Oklahoma City’s bench: Aside from Russ’ triple-double output, the OKC reserves stole the show. While each member yielded a positive result, Alex Abrines (13 pts, 3-5 3PM) was especially impressive.
  • Team synergy: A thirty assist performance, even vs. Brooklyn, is praiseworthy. Hopefully this good habit will stick.

Thunder Woes

  • Foul Shooting: 24-of-34 (70%) is less than ideal for a team attempting to build playoff momentum.
  • 27 personal fouls committed: This number shows how poor OKC’s pick-and-roll defense was during the game’s first 30 minutes.

Thunder Lines of Wonder:

  • Russell Westbrook: 25 points, 19 assists, 12 rebounds, two steals, 11-of-13 FTM.

Russ’ 6-18 FGM performance is forgivable due to the constant pressure he placed upon Brooklyn’s defense. Also, 19 assists speaks volumes to Russ’ willingness to trust his teammates as the season unfolds.

  • Victor Oladipo: 21 pts, four steals, three rebounds, 9-15 FGM, 3-of-4 3PM.
  • Alex Abrines: 13 points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block, 5-7 FGM, 3-5 3PM.

The 23-year-old rookie is making tremendous strides. Tonight’s performance was perhaps his finest all-around outing as a Thunder. Abrines’ floor-spacing ability, and ever expanding understanding of the NBA game will serve as a huge boon for OKC at playoff time.

Though tonight, Oklahoma City struggled at times, it is always a positive when the Thunder come away with a road win. Hopefully, OKC will build upon this positive momentum Thursday against Toronto.