The Thunder got off to a slow start on Sunday in Oklahoma City, allowing the Dallas Mavericks to hang around for the better part of two quarters. On a night the Thunder was without both Steven Adams and Carmelo Anthony due to injury, Paul George and Russell Westbrook combined for 17 points in the first half, as OKC took a two point lead into the break.
The two superstars made sure to put it away in the second half.
Westbrook and George each scored 16 points in the third quarter, combining for 32 of the Thunder’s 39 points in the frame. The outmatched Mavericks never recovered from the onslaught, with Oklahoma City cruising down the stretch to a 112-99 victory.
George finished with 37 points and 8 rebounds — hitting 7/12 from downtown in the process. The Thunder now moves to 6-7 on the season, and is off until Wednesday’s showdown with the Chicago Bulls.
Let’s get into tonight’s win.
Russ & PG’s Two-Man Show
Carmelo Anthony was a late scratch due to back soreness, so tonight was a two-man show for Paul George and Russell Westbrook. The two combined for 64 points on 10/17 shooting from downtown, and looked great attacking the Mavericks in the second half.
Their final stats:
George: 37 pts, 8 reb, 5 ast, 2 stl, 12/22 FG, 7/12 3P
Westbrook: 27 pts, 6 reb, 5 ast, 3 stl, 6/18 FG, 3/5 3P
George followed up Friday’s 42 point performance with another potent scoring effort, and it’s safe to say he finally looks comfortable in the Thunder offense. His three-point shooting continues to impress, and he looks to be having fun again.
Westbrook had a forgettable first two quarters, but scored 18 points in the second half after changing his shoes at halftime. Perhaps more encouraging than anything else, he shot 12/13 from the free throw line and appeared confident during his trips to the stripe. Today is his 29th birthday, so it was nice to see OKC pick up the win.
Paul George highlights via NBA:
Led by Paul George’s seven makes from distance, the Thunder hit a season-high 15 attempts from downtown. OKC was 15/32 on the night — good for 47 percent — and did it without Carmelo Anthony.
- George: 7/12
- Westbrook: 3/5
- Huestis: 3/7
- Abrines: 1/1
- Patterson: 1/3
All of Paul George’s seven threes via NBA TV:
Jerami Grant Doing Things
Jerami Grant is fairly polarizing as a player — some find him incredibly valuable, while others would like to see much less of him. Regardless of your feelings on his contributions, the guy is constantly upping the entertainment value. Some examples from tonight:
A wild shot goes down for an and-1 opportunity.
Standard Grant hammer:
Swatting Dennis Smith Jr:
Grant finished with 10 points and 8 rebounds starting in place of Carmelo Anthony. He was good for several energy plays and a +13 on the night.
Two in a Row
The Thunder has now won two straight after losing four consecutive, and has a great opportunity to move to .500 when the Chicago Bulls visit Oklahoma City on Wednesday. The Thunder beat the Bulls by a score of 101-69 on October 28, so the odds of a positive outcome are fairly high.
OKC wraps up the week with a trip to San Antonio on Friday — a game that comes with a higher degree of difficulty. With just two games over the next seven days, getting healthy and building on current momentum will be the focus. Just 10 days before Golden State’s first trip to Oklahoma City this season.
- The Thunder’s 39 points in the third quarter was the most in any one quarter this season. Westbrook and George combined for 32 of them.
- The Thunder attempted 33 free throws, compared to just 18 for the Mavericks. Westbrook hitting 12/13 of his made a massive difference for OKC.
- The Thunder lost the rebounding battle 41-37 — giving up 11 offensive boards in the process. Not going to work against stiffer competition.
- Josh Huestis logged 22 minutes and scored a career-high 9 points on 3/7 shooting from downtown. He went on to foul out, but contributed well in extended run tonight.
- Dakari Johnson drew the start in place of Steven Adams and pitched in 5 points and 3 rebounds in 17 minutes. He finished at +0 and again played perfectly adequate basketball.
- Patrick Patterson scored 7 points in 25 minutes, and played particularly well in the first half. He’s making his mark on the defensive end, and while he’s yet to have a breakout game offensively, his 3/5 was good enough for the Thunder tonight.
- The Thunder offense has been much improved over the last two games, but OKC still has the challenge of firing on all cylinders when everyone is healthy. Tonight’s win over 2-12 Dallas was expected and doesn’t say a lot about the Thunder as a whole. Still — a win is a win.
Paul George on his mindset upon finding out Melo wouldn’t play. Via Brett Dawson.
Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle on Paul George’s big night. Via Steve McGehee.
Highlight of the Night: Paul George drops the hammer. Via NBA TV.