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Thunder vs Pistons, final score: OKC charges up late to beat Detroit, 123-110

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The defense found itself late, and OKC pulled away in a crucial win.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

box score | Detroit Bad Boys

The Oklahoma City Thunder held off the Blake Griffin-led Pistons at home, 123-110. Using a late game push, OKC outscored Detroit in the 4th 26-14, finally breaking free in a back-and-forth affair.

The biggest difference in the Friday night outcome is that for the first time in a while, the Thunder actually looked like they were moving the ball with purpose to generate open looks and space on the interior. Russell Westbrook recorded 15 of the team’s 30 assists, frequently finding his teammates for easier shots.

As a result, the team was able to overcome a solid Detroit effort, behind the efforts of Griffin. Blake finished with 45 on the night, including 9-14 from three. However, the Thunder were able to withstand his personal barrage early, even as Griffin hit a deep three at the end of the 1st half to keep Detroit in front.

Two other notables: Dennis Schroder finally behaved like a point guard. While the ball still sometimes stuck in his hands as he forced a number of long jumpers, his 14 points on 6-14 shooting, combined with 10 assists enabled the Thunder bench to not be a weakness. Secondly, Markieff Morris had arguably his best offensive game (still 4 fouls in 17 minutes), using his size at the rim to finish well.

While this game doesn’t cure everything that ails OKC — the Pistons were shooting 50% through 3 quarters — it’s a little bit of sunshine amid a messy close out to the season. The win keeps them locked in 7th place, a game up on the Spurs.

Next game: @ Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, April 7 at 2:30PM CST