Thunder Rallies Late, Survives Sharpshooting Nets
The Brooklyn Nets probably deserved to leave Oklahoma City with a win after Tuesday night’s game at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Nets hit 16 shots from long distance, led by as many as 15, and had an 11-point advantage headed into the fourth quarter. With the Thunder struggling in virtually every facet of the game, a Brooklyn victory felt like a foregone conclusion.
Then Raymond Felton happened.
Felton scored 10-straight Thunder points to open the fourth quarter, cutting the 11-point deficit to just five on his own offensive output. His run shocked life into the lifeless Thunder, paving the way toward what would become a photo finish.
Trailing by one with seven seconds remaining, Russell Westbrook drove hard to the basket and finished in traffic — giving the Thunder a one-point lead with just 3.3 seconds to go. Andre Roberson then forced Spencer Dinwiddie into a contested three-pointer on the other end and the desperation attempt fell short. Oklahoma City escaped with a come from behind 109-108 victory.
A look at Westbrook’s game-winner:
The win pushes the Thunder’s winning streak to an NBA-best five games, moving the overall record to 27-20 on the season. Oklahoma City will be back in action on Thursday when Scott Brooks and the Washington Wizards pay a visit to The ‘Peake.
Now for some notes on the win over Brooklyn.
42.6: The Thunder came back to earth after experiencing offensive nirvana on Saturday in Cleveland. OKC hit just 42.6 percent of its shots and 28 percent of its three-pointers. By comparison, Brooklyn shot 46.8 percent from the floor and 42.1 percent (16/38) from downtown.
50: The Thunder won 50-45 on the glass — 16-8 on the offensive boards.
68.8: Another miserable night from the charity stripe. The Thunder hit 22/32 of its free throws, good for 68.8 percent.
12: After 37 assists on Saturday in Cleveland, the Thunder managed just 12 assists against the Nets.
4: Somewhat miraculously, the Thunder only turned the ball over four times. OKC forced 12 turnovers in what was actually a pretty clean game.
20 & 5: There were 20 lead changes and five ties. This game was a good one.
The Core Four
Interesting night for Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams. Their final stat lines:
Westbrook: 32 pts, 6 ast, 5 reb, 12/27 FG, -10
Westbrook struggled with his shot in the first half but went 7/12 after halftime and obviously hit what would become the game-winner. Missed a lot of shots at the rim that could have easily been called, but weren’t. The one turnover is a big plus.
George: 28 pts, 9 reb, 9/20 FG, 1/7 3P, +1
PG13 came out of the gates blistering hot — shooting 6/10 for 16 points in the first quarter. He went 3/11 for the rest of the way, including 0/3 in the fourth.
Melo: 10 pts, 8 reb, 4/12 FG, 0/2 3P, -7
Melo came back to earth after averaging 20+ over the Thunder’s last three games. He shot 4/12 for 10 points, only took two three-pointers and missed an iso-jumper late in the game that actually allowed the Nets to take a one-point lead with less than 10 seconds to go. Luckily for him, that’s just a footnote now.
Adams: 6 pts, 14 reb (9 oreb), 3/12 FG, +15
Adams was again a beast on the boards, grabbing NINE offensive rebounds against the Nets. He uncharacteristically went 3/12 from the floor, stopping himself from another monster stat line. His streak of double-doubles ends at four.
Ray Felton God Mode
Felton scored 10-straight Thunder points to start the fourth, using two three-pointers, a mid-range jumper and finally a runner that bounced high off the rim and in — bringing OKC back within five points.
Felton finished with 14 points and 4 assists on 6/8 shooting — 2/2 from long range. He wrapped up as a +12 on the night and was a monstrous factor in the comeback win.
The Game-Winner. One time for Russell Westbrook, who actually took a two-pointer to win the game. I don’t know how many times this game has ended with him launching an ill-advised three when the Thunder only needs two points, so him getting something high-quality was a breath of fresh air.
The Game-Loser. I don’t know how many of you all caught this, but Spencer Dinwiddie’s maligned final attempt totally looked like it went in on the FSOK feed. I sat in stunned disbelief until Brian Davis started screaming “Thunder win! Thunder win!”
The Other Guys. Six guys reached double-figures for the Nets: Joe Harris (19), Dinwiddie (13), Demarre Carroll (13), Allan Crabbe (12), Jarrett Allen (12), and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (11).
2Pat. Patrick Patterson finished with 6 points on 2/3 shooting — nothing crazy. But he hit two big three-pointers during the Thunder’s furious rally and needs a bit of love here.
Uncharted Territory. Don’t look now but the Thunder is seven games above .500. Probably didn’t deserve to win this one but it still counts.