The Thunder have thoroughly enjoyed facing the league’s top competition this season, and that trend continued on Sunday up north. OKC ended Toronto’s 11-game winning streak to take home their sixth straight win.
When the stakes are high, the Thunder come to play. They’re now 5-2 this season vs the Raptors, Warriors, and Rockets. That’s the best record and most wins against those three teams of any group in the NBA.
Sunday was one of the more entertaining games of the season, being a back and forth affair from the opening tip. OKC scored 40 points in the first quarter, followed by the Raptors kicking off the second frame with a 20-4 run. The Thunder then responded with a 22-10 stretch of their own, and it was clear that this one was going to come down to the wire.
The entire Toronto Raptors organization was ejected at the end of the game, but it was really Russell Westbrook’s takeover and fifth straight triple-double that took center stage.
Sunday was arguably Westbrook’s best game of the 2017-18 season, as he went off for 37 points, 13 rebounds, and 14 assists. His 23rd triple-double of the season came at a time when OKC needed it most, against the 52-17 Toronto Raptors.
Entering the fourth, the Thunder trailed by 1. Russ stepped up and scored 17 of his 37 in the final quarter, shooting 7/11 and turning the ball over zero times. He had a hand in 20 of their final 33 points, and controlled the tempo across the last 12 minutes.
Russ 37p/14a/13r— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) March 18, 2018
5th straight TD pic.twitter.com/MUZQtfQmvE
- Despite Westbrook’s incredible performance, Steven Adams remains the greatest basketball on the planet. He finished with 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. He also took a hit to the kiwi’s from former teammate Serge Ibaka, and had this to say following the game:
Steven Adams on his former teammate, Serge Ibaka, accidentally kneeing him in the groin: “Unfortunately, Serge is not the most coordinated guy. So he ended up, yeah, old mate. What a d***” pic.twitter.com/oS5DIF2XZj— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) March 18, 2018
- Here’s an interesting tidbit:
When Steven Adams takes more shots than Carmelo, OKC is 7-0 this season with all 7 wins coming against teams currently over .500.— Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13) March 18, 2018
Not an indictment of Melo, simply that when Adams plays a bigger role, good things tend to happen.
- Melo was terrific as well, scoring 15 points on 6/10 FG (3/4 3FG).
- The Thunder starters combined for 109 points in Toronto.
- Russ surpassed 6,000 career assists on Sunday.
- The Raptors hadn’t lost this season when leading at the start on the fourth quarter before yesterday’s game.
- OKC is now 18-18 on the road for the first time since Halloween. They began the year 2-10 away from home, but have now won 5 of 7 road games since the all-star break.
- The top five teams in the West are currently on a combined 32-game win streak. Not too shabby.
- Also this:
A Look Ahead
OKC heads to Boston on Tuesday night to face the injury-plagued Celtics. They’ll look to snag their seventh win in a row.