The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Detroit Pistons on the road, 121-108. There were many positives that would have been worth highlighting in this game against one negative, but unfortunately that one negative looms large.
As the Thunder looked to be cruising to an easy win, Russell Westbrook set up Andre Roberson for a standard backdoor lob set they have run dozens of times in the past. Only this time, when an uncontested Robes went up, his left leg seemed to buckle on him and he landed hard on his lower back.
Freak accident here. Andre Roberson goes down hard after slipping. Takes a really bad bump. pic.twitter.com/4yjlGSkGXY— Up The Thunder (@UpTheThunder) January 27, 2018
Roberson had missed 8 games with patellar tendonitis, and tragically, early reports appear to be that this is also the nexus of this injury, which may likely shelve Robes for the remainder of the season.
Source: Preliminary report on OKC’s Andre Roberson: ruptured patellar tendon.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 28, 2018
Robes’ impact on the team cannot be understated, and we know as much now by how OKC struggled in many ways while he had previously been sidelined.
Westbrook, George, Carmelo, Adams all on the floor together this season...— Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13) January 28, 2018
Def rating with Roberson: 96.6
Def rating without Roberson: 114.5
One man causes a 4 man rotation to go from worst to first defensively.
Major blow to OKC defense.
All eyes now shift to the Thunder front office as they will likely have to weigh what to do as the trade deadline looms.
- Carmelo Anthony became the 21st player in league history to score 25,000 points.
- Russell Westbrook recorded another triple-double (31-13-11), but it was his 4th quarter leadership that stood tall. With the team wavering in the aftermath of Roberson’s injury, Westbrook made nearly every critical play down the stretch, scoring the ball, grabbing offensive rebounds, and setting up open shooters to close the game that would have quite literally become insult to injury had OKC not held onto what was once a 27 point lead.
- At one point Paul George had 24 points on 8 shots.
- The Thunder starters outscored the Pistons starters, 96-44. The bench? Well, ah...
- Terrance Ferguson got the call again, and hit a big corner-3 (just like last game) with 3:28 left to hold off the creeping Pistons.