Russell Westbrook through three games has two triple-doubles, and is the first player to ever with at least 100 points, 30 rebounds and 30 assists. He’s averaging 38.6 points, 12.3 rebounds and 11.6 assists.
And tonight against the Lakers, he was at his very best, balancing scoring and assisting to near perfection. When the Lakers made a little push to cut OKC’s lead to four with six minutes left, Westbrook kicked up, sparked a run and the Thunder put the game away.
That’s a 3-0 start, which despite the competition, is very good for OKC. There have been some ugly spots, but there was some clear progression tonight against the Lakers. And good thing too, because next week is gonna be harder.
- Westbrook came out diming early (does anyone still say diming) and set a new tone. He had five assists in the first six minutes. And coming off that 44-shot game, to finish with 21 attempts to 16 assists is pretty good. He talked about wishing he’d trusted teammates a little more, and he clearly made that a focus.
- Despite that, Westbrook could’ve had more than 20 assists. There was just no shot-making. The Thunder hit 9-26 from 3, but that was Westbrook hit 5-6, Oladipo hitting 3-7 and Semaj Christon hitting one. Kyle Singler went 0-1, Ersan Ilyasova was 0-5 and Andre Roberson 0-3.
- Kyle Singler was good in the preseason though.
- Oladipo played his best game, I thought. Yeah, he was 7-20 shooting, but he looked a lot more confident and comfortable. He was aggressive with the second unit, and played in a better rhythm. Some of those shots will start falling, but he’s got to attack. The first two games there were definitely awkward spots where he was trying to sort out where he fit. Seems like he’s getting a better idea.
- Enes Kanter just beasted the Lakers. He had 16 on 8-11 shooting in 22 minutes and might’ve scored on every post touch if OKC had kept going there.
- Anthony Morrow played. In six minutes he had six points. And in that time, OKC’s spacing was noticeably better. So, why doesn’t he play more? It’s pretty simple: He needs someone to guard. The Lakers threw Jose Calderon on the floor, so Morrow had someone to guard. Morrow’s defense is worse than it was even a year ago, and unless he’s got someone to guard, he’s not playing. If there’s a favorable matchup, he’ll be on the floor because Billy Donovan knows he fills a desperate need.
- Roberson had some ugly misses, but he was more offensively involved. I asked Donovan pregame why we’re not seeing the cutting and screening we saw in the postseason and he smarty pointed out because so far, teams are guarding Roberson. The Warriors actively didn’t, so OKC go creative in how to exploit that. So far, defenders are sticking with Roberson more, so he has to make efficient cuts.
- Domantas Sabonis had a very rookie game: seven minutes and zeroes across the board except for a steal, a block and four fouls. Don’t worry. It’ll get better. He’s good.
- Steven Adams had his best statistical game (14 and 12), but he fumbled away a lot of passes. His hands are a strength of his, but he’s getting stripped and not making clean catches on tight pocket passes.
- Again, level of competition sure, but the Thunder’s defense has been very solid thus far.
- We’re going to learn a lot in the coming week. Donovan talked about how this will be good. The Thunder will probably lose both games, but even so, being competitive and showing some progress is what’s important.
Next up: At the Clippers on Wednesday