The Thunder are finally fully healthy for the first time this season, Russell Westbrook is shooting three-pointers like he’s Ray Allen and getting triple-doubles like he’s Oscar Robertson.
The Thunder improve to 22-16 on the season and stop the three game losing streak. They needed this win at home and got it. This game was about as even-keeled as it gets for the first half, but Westbrook got his teammates involved and Denver couldn’t keep up in the second half.
Steven Adams scored 9 straight points for the Thunder in the third quarter and that felt like a real momentum shift for this game. Denver might lack having an All-Star to lead their franchise, but they have real depth at each position when they’re fully healthy. That depth in their roster kept this game close for three quarters, but Denver didn’t have Gary Harris or Nikola Jokic and their offense really struggled as a result.
Cameron Payne is back! The pre-game dances are back! He scored 8 points shooting 3-of-4 from the field in 13 minutes. If Payne can play well, that’s a big win for this team. He could be more than just bait for a trade this season. His offensive upside and feel for the game is what makes him so interesting for this team. Semaj Christon did a great job as a backup given how quickly he was slotted in that position, but having Payne back can help finally answer some question about how good this team can be this season.
Westbrook earned his 17th triple-double of the season with 32 points, 17 rebounds, 11 assists and 3 steals. He made seven three-pointers tonight, four of those came in the fourth quarter. Now that he’s made 15 three-pointers in the last two games, that definitely means he’s gonna be letting them fly for the foreseeable future. He’s also two more triple-doubles away from breaking the single season record of most triple doubles since the NBA/ABA merger.
- Steven Adams was superb tonight with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 blocks and 1 steal. He’s so efficient on offense and important to what this team does defensively. He bothered Nurkic all night and kept him to an inefficient 5-of-14.
- Wilson Chandler has the worst tattoo in the league. The awfulness of that neck tattoo cannot be overstated.
- Victor Oladipo had 15 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block and 2 steals with no turnovers. He shot a fairly inefficient 7-of-19, but I’m just glad to see him be aggressive on offense, even if that occasionally means he goes 0-for-8 from three.
- Wilson Chandler was great tonight, specifically in the first half for the Nuggets despite the neck tattoo, he had 24 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks. The Thunder really should figure out a way to get Chandler or Gallinari on their team, that would be a real game changer.
- Sabonis shot and made 5 free throws, all came in the first quarter.
- Mudiay went 0-for-9 tonight, I guess it’s tough to guard Russell Westbrook.
- The Semaj Experiment might be over. It’s officially time to CamPayne and Champagne.
- Jameer Nelson is the new Raymond Felton. For an NBA player, he’s got as close as you can get to having a dad bod.
- Andre Roberson had 13 points, 8 rebounds and 1 block tonight. He went 2-of-5 from downtown and made 5-of-8 from the line when Denver went with the intentional foul. He got some much needed practice from the free throw line.
- Kanter had 14 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block. He’s a big reason why the Thunder had 56 points in the paint tonight.
- Jerami Grant had 4 blocks tonight!
- The Thunder were +7 in blocks, +8 in points in the paint and +8 in fast break points.
Next up: Monday in Chicago at 7 pm CST