The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Charlotte Hornets on the road, 111-107. The win, powered by a big 2nd have push, brings OKC back to a game under .500 with another game tomorrow night against the struggling Wizards. It is a marked turnaround from a week ago where the Thunder looked completely out of sorts. However, a change in the starting lineup, coupled with more emphasis on defense and bench unit play, has brought a new level of respectability.
The Thunder were led by Russell Westbrook, who finished with 29 points on 12-24 shooting, along with 10 assists and 8 rebounds. Paul George once again struggled with his shot, finishing with only 11 points on 4-20 shooting, including 0-10 from 3-point range. However, stepping up in his place, and helping OKC overcome a 19 point deficit in the 3rd, was Alex Abrines. The backup shooting guard, who has shown steady improvement in all facets of the game, but particularly on defense this year, helped buoy OKC back to contention with his 3-point shooting. Abrines finished with a career high 25 points on 9-15 shooting, including 5-10 from 3-point range.
The Thunder backcourt was the success story on the night, and was rounded off by Dennis Schroder who, in 30 minutes of play, finished with 21 points on 7-15 shooting to go along with 5 assists. The The Thunder used Schroder well off the ball late in the 4th quarter, which repeatedly left him in mismatches at the rim or wide open for 3-pointers. It was Schroder’s driving layup off a Westbrook assist that gave OKC their first lead since the second quarter at 94-93. And then, with 1:12 remaining, Schroder sank a 3-pointer, again off a Westbrook assist, to give OKC a 4 point lead and enough breathing room to hold off the Hornets.
And of course Westbrook had to hit a Shammgod to seal the deal.
0️⃣’s digits tonight.— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) November 2, 2018
...and stuff like this ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/Ze16zg7ncK