Charlotte comes into OKC and wins for the first in 9 seasons, 113-101
The Thunder offense really struggled this afternoon against Charlotte. The lackluster offense in the first half only worsened in the second half. With 6:23 left in the third quarter, OKC had gone scoreless. Westbrook scored the first 13 points for the Thunder in the third and Enes Kanter was the only other Thunder player to score in the quarter. With a 14-point deficit going into the fourth quarter, OKC couldn’t find enough offense to get themselves back into this game.
Russell Westbrook continues his insane level of play. He had 40 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists and 3 steals. He earned his 40th triple-double of the season and is now only one triple-double away from tying Oscar Robertson’s single season triple-double record. I think he’s going for 44 triple-doubles this season. His Instagram handle is ‘russwest44’, it just makes too much sense to not happen. This was the sixth straight triple-double for Russ and despite the Thunder loss, he put on another MVP-caliber performance.
The Hornets are playing in desperation mode right now to make the playoffs. Charlotte came into this game with more energy and their effort level on both ends is why they won this game. Kemba Walker has been a standout player this season and is keeping the Hornets in the playoff race. Walker finished the night with 29 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals.
- The Thunder played really sloppy basketball in this one. They had a season high of 24 turnovers.
- Roberson hasn’t made a three-pointer in 8 games. His defense and effort level is a great asset for any team, but his lack of offensive ability just hurts the half-court offense for the Thunder far too often. I just don’t think he’s a guy that can start on a team completely built around Russ. Even though he’s struggled mightily to shoot the basketball as of late, he still finished the night with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 block.
- The free throw disparity in this game was a huge factor for this Thunder loss. Charlotte was +20 in free throw attempts. OKC ranks third in the NBA in free throw attempts per game, so when those scoring opportunities are taken away, it really messes with how the Thunder are able to score.
- Taj Gibson returned tonight, but only played 13 minutes. I’m not sure if he was on a minutes restriction tonight, but he needs to be playing more overall. He’s one of the better players for the Thunder and it only makes sense to give him at least 20 minutes of playing time a night.
- This may be unpopular, but I still believe in Jeremy Lamb. I might be the only person on the Lambwagon that’s left in Oklahoma City, but I’m still here.
- Domantas Sabonis had one of the strangest accidental made shots I’ve ever seen. He lost control of the ball when his back was to the goal and somehow that ball went into the basket.
- Jerami Grant had a highlight block on Miles Plumlee. I guess if you wear the number 9 jersey for OKC, you just have to be able to block shots.
- Why is Semaj Christon still playing in crunch time? I just don’t get it.
- During the last stretch of the game, Westbrook hit a clutch a three-pointer and drew contact. He intentionally missed the and-one free throw, got his own miss and made another and-one. It’s too bad he was called for a lane violation for the second and-one because that was an incredible effort. Russ must’ve been watching Oregon vs. North Carolina last night.
- Steven Adams has been in a bit of a funk as of late. He only scored 2 points tonight and that’s just not enough offensive production from the second or third best player on the team. He seems to struggle against teams have bigs that stretch the floor. Hopefully Steven Funaki Adams can get something going before the playoffs start.
- This was Charlotte’s first ever win in Oklahoma City.
Next Up: At home against the Bucks on Tuesday at 7 pm CST