Westbrook triple-doubles for a 6th straight time, and the Thunder soar past the Hawks, 102-99

The Thunder improved to 14-8 with their sixth consecutive win tonight against the Hawks. This looked like a decisive Thunder win midway the third quarter, but the Hawks scrapped their way back into the game. Tim Hardaway Jr. missed a three-pointer on the final play of the game, which would’ve forced overtime. That last possession for the Hawks was pretty terrible and OKC dodged a massive Kyle Korver bullet to tie the game.

Okay, so this win wasn’t super convincing for the Thunder, but it’s still impressive considering this was the back end of  a home/road back-to-back. Those are often considered “schedule(d) losses” for any team that’s not considered a championship contender, but Westbrook doesn’t care about any of that. Westbrook got his sixth straight triple-double tonight by the middle of the 3rd quarter; his eleventh triple-double of the season. I can’t even think of a good enough hyperbole to iterate how incredible he’s playing. Tonight’s insane stat line for Russ consists of 32 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. Russ scored 27 points in the second half and he led both teams in points, rebounds, and assists tonight. Are we sure he’s actually a human?

Victor Oladipo had a highlight dunk over Dwight Howard in the second quarter. That dunk is gonna be a legitimate dunk of the year candidate.

Steven Adams played tonight despite spraining his left ankle yesterday. He had 12 points and 6 rebounds in the first half. He went down again tonight with what looked like another ankle sprain, but, of course, got back in the game. Get this man a contract in the WWE.

Paul Millsap was Atlanta’s best player tonight and continues to be one of the most underrated players in the NBA. He quietly had 24 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals tonight. Millsap is an all star for a reason, but the Hawks went to Dennis Schröder too many times late in the game. Schröder is really fast, and he kept getting the mismatch he wanted with Adams guarding him on the perimeter. But he was missing at the rim all night and probably shouldn’t have been the go-to-scorer for the Hawks tonight. In theory, Schröder should match up well against the Thunder due to his athleticism, but that just wasn’t the case tonight. 

Five Thunder players were in double-digits in the scoring category tonight, which is usually a great recipe for winning games. OKC was +7 in the rebound category, but the biggest deciding factor in this game was Russ being Russ. He took over late in the game, like he’s done so many times this season, and showed that he was by far the best player on the floor.

NOTES:

  • The athleticism of the backcourt for OKC is what drives this team. Russ leading the team in rebounds makes sense given how he can push the ball up the floor so decisively and make good decisions with the ball in his hands. The Thunder went super athletic to close this game with Russ, Oladipo, Roberson, Grant and Adams. When the other team has guys like Kyle Korver and Tim Hardaway Jr out there, that’s going to be an athletic mismatch if there’s ever been one. In addition to that line-up, that Thunder were able to match the Hawks’ 3-point marksmen with Anthony Morrow, who splashed in four 3-pointers of his own tonight. 
  • In the fourth quarter, Kyle Korver ran straight into Paul Millsap and Russ got called for a foul. The foul call was awful, but because it was so awful, it was also hilarious. 
  • Remember when Anthony Morrow was 0’fer from the 3-point line in the first 15 games of the season? Well, he’s gone 15/33 (.454) in the last 7 games since then. I need more of that in my life.
  • Someone should check on whether Andre Roberson is actually a clone of Thabo Sefalosha.
  • The Hawks PA announcer needs a raise, he’s the best. I get excited anytime someone makes a three-pointer for the Hawks, I can’t help it.
  • Another three day break for the Thunder, seven straight wins would be pretttyyy, prettttyyyyyy good. 

Next Up: Friday night against the Rockets at the ‘Peake.

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