With the Denver Nuggets winning their 5th straight on Saturday afternoon, the Thunder were in danger of falling into a three-way tie for the West’s eight seed. Instead, OKC went into Houston and grabbed a much-needed win. It was Houston’s first loss at home in 20 games.
The 2017-18 Thunder have taken pride in competing with the NBA’s elite all season long, and that rang true again on Saturday, as the Thunder came in loose and found a way to get the job done, and at this point in the season, that’s all they can ask for.
The trio of Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony was extremely productive in Houston, which was a nice change from the inconsistent shooting struggles that have plagued them over the last month or so. Russ led the charge with 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 10 assists, while PG and Melo added 24 and 22, respectively. Westbrook provided the much needed fourth quarter lift.
So after their biggest win of the season, where do the Thunder currently stand in the chaotic Western Conference playoff picture?
With two games remaining, OKC is the 7-seed, facing off against the Golden State Warriors. They’re tied in the win column with Utah, New Orleans, and San Antonio (seeds 4-6). Seeds 4-7 are separated by a half game with less than a week to go.
Bottom line: If the Thunder win one of their final two games, they’re in. For seeding’s sake, it would be ideal to win them both, because winning is normally better than losing, so I’ve heard.
- OKC shot just 39.6% from the field compared to Houston’s 47.4% clip.
- The dreaded free throws came back to haunt the Thunder late in the game last night, but nothing catastrophic. They finished 26/33 from the line.
- Steven Adams had 12 points and 8 rebounds in 29 minutes. He left the game in the first half after being hit in the face, but would return. Adams did not play in the fourth quarter due to what Billy Donovan said was a personnel decision.
- Jerami Grant scored 12 points on 4/5 shooting, and finished the game for OKC. He’s had a great stretch of games coming off the bench for the Thunder.
- Alex Abrines had a rough night on the offensive end, going 0/7 from the field in 27 minutes.
A Look Ahead
OKC finishes their season with a trip to Miami on Monday before heading home to face the Memphis Grizzlies.