All things considered, this is a good win for the Thunder. For a team trying to find itself on both ends of the floor, at this point, beating anybody by any margin, is good.
That doesn’t mean that a 109-103 win over a now 2-6 Sixers squad shouldn’t have been a 15-point victory. Because it should’ve been. The Thunder had the 76ers down by 10 and 11 a number of times, but never got the stops, the rebounds or the baskets to officially put the game out of reach. A bother, definitely. But winning ain’t easy, especially when you’re not playing anywhere near your best.
But I think the Thunder found something offensively in this one. They finished with just 17 assists, which isn’t great by any means, but the ball movement was much improved. One possession stands out in my mind right now – in the first quarter, the Thunder moved the ball slickly around the perimeter, finally snapping a pass to James Harden for 3. We haven’t seen that kind of team ball at any point for over a week.
And the guy that deserves the credit for getting them going is Russell Westbrook. His line is stellar – 31 points on 11-19 shooting, 12 assists and five rebounds (and seven turnovers) – but Westbrook really pressed the action for the Thunder. He was determined to get them into sets, to get them moving and to get them energized. I think that’s potentially a reason for his seven turns. He was forced to force it, if that makes sense. Keep Reading…