Thunder Jumps on Kings Early, Survives Late on Westbrook Game-Winner
The Oklahoma City Thunder showed up in Sacramento well-rested after the All-Star break, then quickly got to work against a sub-par Kings team. The Thunder shot 7/10 from downtown in the first quarter — building a 44-21 lead after the first 12 minutes.
Then it was the Kings turn.
Sacramento outscored OKC 39-23 in the second quarter, trimming the Thunder lead to just seven at the break. Things swung even further in Sacramento’s favor after they scored the final 16 points of the third quarter, taking a 90-85 lead into the final frame and completely erasing a first quarter that made it seem like the Thunder would run away with it.
The Thunder trailed by three with about four and a half minutes to play but made a 5-2 run from that point forward to tie the game at 107. Then, with possession and just one second remaining, OKC inbounded the ball and let the reigning MVP do the work:
Westbrook’s three-pointer gave the Thunder a 110-107 victory and OKC escaped Sacramento with a game it desperately needed to win. Paul George led the way with 26 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds, Carmelo Anthony pitched-in 23 points on 7/12 shooting from downtown, and Russell Westbrook notched his 18th triple-double with 17 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 assists — not to mention the biggest shot of the night. Steven Adams was again huge, contributing 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocks.
The narrow win pushes the Thunder record to 34-26 on the season ahead of Saturday’s game against the Warriors in Oakland. It was discouraging to see the team nearly give away a game to a bad Kings squad — but luckily Westbrook was able to save the day when it mattered most.
44: The 44 points in the first quarter was a season-high for any quarter — and the second-best scoring quarter in Thunder history. This was made possible by 14 first quarter assists and 70 percent shooting from downtown.
69-41: The Thunder was then outscored 69-41 over the next two quarters.
23 & 7: The Thunder led by as many as 23. The Kings had a largest lead of 7.
44.2: The Thunder shot 44.2 percent from the floor, compared to 46.2 percent for the Kings.
40+: Both teams shot 40+ percent from downtown. The Thunder went 14/35 (40 percent) and the Kings went 12/27 (44.4 percent).
+7: The Thunder won 56-49 on the glass, but was outscored by 16 in the paint.
26: 26 assists for the Thunder.
-24: It was the Sacramento bench that changed the entire complexion of the game. They outscored the Thunder bench by a 48-24 tally.
The final stat lines for Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, and Steven Adams:
George: 26 pts, 8 ast, 7 reb, 7/17 FG, 3/8 3P, +26
Anthony: 23 pts, 4 reb, 8/17 FG, 7/12 3P, +6
Westbrook: 17 pts, 15 reb, 11 ast, 2 stl, 4/14 FG, 1/6 3P, +4
Adams: 18 pts, 11 reb, 4 blk, 2 stl, 9/12 FG, +19
The group combined to shoot 29/58 (50 percent) from the floor and all had positive plus-minus numbers. The rest of the team shot just 6/15.
Huestis Draws the Start. It was Josh Huestis who got the start at shooting guard, turning in 2 points on 1/4 shooting and wrapping up the night as a +17.
Bad Ferg. Terrance Ferguson was a -30 in 13 minutes. I mean that’s just absurd.
Patterson, Grant & Felton. The Thunder relies on these three off the bench and they certainly failed to deliver. The trio shot 4/12 and had poor plus-minus numbers: Patterson (-3), Felton (-16), Grant (-10).
The Other Guys. Five Kings reached double-figures in scoring: Zach Randolph (29), Buddy Hield (19), Vince Carter (13), Garrett Temple (13), and Skal Labissiere (10).