After a slow start that led to a slim two-point advantage after one quarter of play, the Thunder offense roared to life and made easy work of the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night in Oklahoma City. OKC outscored the Hawks 38-20 in the second en route to a 20-point halftime lead that was never in question again. Russell Westbrook led the way in the victory with 23 points, nine rebounds, and 10 assists — but it was Alex Abrines who stole the show. Abrines shook off his recent struggles to score a season-high 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting from downtown. The seven makes from distance are a new career-high.
In total, the Thunder shot 18-of-41 (43.9 percent) from deep and handed out 30 assists in the winning effort. Six OKC players scored in double-figures, including Westbrook, Abrines, Paul George (20), Dennis Schroder (18), Nerlens Noel (14), and Patrick Patterson (13). Former Sooner Trae Young struggled for Atlanta in the return to his home state, finishing with nine points on 4-of-15 shooting in 28 minutes.
The Thunder move to 14-7 with the win (9-3 at home) and will return to action on Monday in Detroit. They’ll face Blake Griffin and his Pistons at 6:00 PM CST on NBA TV and Fox Sports Oklahoma.
Alex Abrines: 21 pts, 7/11 3P
Russell Westbrook: 23 pts, 9 reb, 10 ast, 8/15 FG, 2/4 3P
Paul George: 20 pts, 5 reb, 2 stl, 6/14 FG
Alex Abrines. Coming off a 1-of-8 effort from downtown in the Thunder’s last outing, Abrines caught fire in this one and provided the type of shooting effort the Thunder need more of moving forward. All of his makes were from long range — in fact, he didn’t even attempt a shot from inside the arc — and at one point he gave a little MJ shrug to indicate that, yes, he was really feeling it. Bravo.
Solid Westbrook. The former MVP had another solid outing tonight, posting 23 points, nine rebounds, and 10 assists in 31 minutes. He was controlled and didn’t force his shot, finishing the night with an 8-of-15 shooting clip — 2-of-4 from downtown. Back-to-back great efforts for Westbrook.
Zombie 2Pat. Patrick Patterson suddenly came back to life in this one, scoring 13 points and shooting 3-of-8 from long distance. He had scored a combined total of zero points in the Thunder’s last five games — boasting an abysmal 0-of-16 clip from the field. However, he reached double-figures for the first time since November 5 and all but one of his attempts were from deep. If he’s to get going the way many imagined he would, that type of shot selection will need to continue.
Nerlens. Nerlens Noel made the most of his 16 minutes, finishing with 14 points, seven rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. He shot 6-of-7 from the floor and continued to illustrate his value, even in limited action. The production was nice, as Steven Adams had another quiet evening — wrapping up the win with six points, 13 rebounds, and three steals.
Revenge Game. Dennis Schroder was solid in his first game against his former team, dropping 18 points and eight rebounds off the Thunder bench. Given Trae Young’s struggles, that’s a double win for the Thunder’s backup point guard.
No Hami. Although Hamidou Diallo was cleared to return prior to tip-off, he didn’t see any action in the win. However, Deonte Burton continued gobbling up floor time — though he finished with just two points in his 20 minutes (but was a +10).
Billy Donovan on the win: