Well it wasn’t pretty, but OKC was able to snag a win on Friday night against the Heat. They trailed entering the fourth quarter, but used a 41-point explosion over the final 12 minutes to escape with a win.
It felt like November in the ‘Peake for much of last night, as it was messy, inefficient, and just plain ugly. But of course, it’s March, and the Thunder are in the thick of the chaos that is the Western Conference, so Friday had much more significance.
Coming off a meltdown of epic proportions on Tuesday in Boston, the Thunder were able to handle last night’s fourth quarter with much better composure. In other words, Russ took over and Steven Adams continued his perfect night.
Westbrook shot 6/7 in Friday’s fourth quarter, scoring 17 of his 29 points in the final frame. He would add 13 rebounds and 8 assists to his line. The reigning MVP was able to control the tempo and fuel OKC’s fourth quarter scoring punch, which allowed them to grab their 44th win.
Steven Adams was phenomenal from start to finish on Friday, finishing with 24 and 12, while shooting an efficient 9/13 from the floor. The Thunder used the big man as their offensive centerpiece last night. Doing so allowed the OKC offense to open up the floor with Adams in the middle, which proved to be an effective gameplan with no Hassan Whiteside in uniform for Miami.
- Paul George had a rough shooting night, but came up with a clutch steal late in the fourth quarter to seal the deal.
- OKC is now 7-1 with Corey Brewer in the starting lineup.
- Raymond Felton finished with 10 points in 14 minutes.
- Melo and PG were a combined 5/24 from the field last night. Not great.
- The Thunder are back in fourth place in the West.
- Here are some post-game clips:
Felton on Adams: “He was amazing. He was definitely the player of the game tonight, by far.” pic.twitter.com/DILEePEDGp— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) March 24, 2018
Steven Adams said he heard the crowd telling him to shoot a 3-pointer, but “no chance.” ... Said he’d get “destroyed,” then nods in Russell Westbrook’s direction. “Old mate over there ... he would ...” pic.twitter.com/17hkYpN08B— Erik Horne (@ErikHorneOK) March 24, 2018
Paul George said something really unique about Westbrook is his ability to turn on the scoring without rhythm. Westbrook on his approach in those situations: pic.twitter.com/AvwwXdkfLW— Royce Young (@royceyoung) March 24, 2018
Paul George on Russell Westbrook’s ability to turn it on and close games: “He’s one of the most explosive and unique players I’ve ever played with.” pic.twitter.com/ZVEYnt3z4y— Royce Young (@royceyoung) March 24, 2018
A Look Ahead
The Thunder face the third-place Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night in a matchup with tons of playoff implications.
For future reference: Russ needs to average 12.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists over the next 8 games to average a triple-double for the season.