It was far from pretty but the Thunder finally got the job done against the Kings on Monday night in Oklahoma City. Despite scoring just 19 points in the first quarter, giving up 39 points in the third, and generally getting outworked throughout, there was enough gas in the tank late to escape with a 106-101 victory.
Russell Westbrook notched his 20th triple-double of the season, as Paul George and Carmelo Anthony contributed 21 points apiece. Steven Adams was in the starting lineup despite a sprained left ankle but later exited with what is now being called a left hip contusion. There was no immediate update on him following the game.
The Thunder record now stands at 40-29 on the season and OKC has moved into fourth place in the Western Conference. Back in action tomorrow night against the Atlanta Hawks.
45.2: The Thunder shot 45.2 percent from the field, compared to 41 percent for the Kings.
44.4: OKC went 16-of-36 (44.4 percent) from long distance. Sacramento went 12-for-33 (36.4 percent).
-6: Sacramento won the rebounding battle by a tally of 49-43.
-8: Uncharacteristically, OKC was dominated on the offensive glass. The Kings took a 13-5 advantage.
-9: The offensive rebounds resulted in a 15-6 advantage in second-chance points for the Kings.
-15: The Kings’ bench outscored the OKC reserves 40-25.
4 & 6: There were four lead changes and six ties.
Despite the slim margin of victory, there were signs of life out of Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony. For the first time in recent memory, all three played reasonably well. It wasn’t great… but it was reasonable, I guess.
Their final stat lines:
George: 21 pts, 6 reb, 5 ast, 7/18 FG, 4/9 3P, +3
George was shooting 26 percent from deep post-All-Star break, so the 4-of-9 clip was good to see. The statistical oddity here is that he went 7-of-12 in quarters two and three, but 0-of-6 in quarters one and four.
Melo: 21 pts, 6 reb, 7/14 FG, 5/7 3P, +5
Melo opened the game with three consecutive long balls and went 5-of-7 from long distance — just needs to trim out some of the unnecessary two-pointers. He was just 2-of-7 inside the arc, where he mostly took contested, turnaround jumpers.
Russ: 17 pts, 10 reb, 11 ast, 7/19 FG, 2/3 3P, +4
Westbrook recorded his 20th triple-double of the season and only turned it over twice. Hitting 2-of-3 from long distance was a nice touch, as well.
Steven Adams was questionable to play with a sprained left ankle but ended up in the starting lineup with no minutes restriction. He then took a tumble in the third quarter, coming up gimpy and, after trying to play for a bit longer, left the game and did not return. It was later announced that he suffered a left hip contusion.
This is another nagging injury to go along with the sprained ankle. We will all now wait for word on his status, although I can’t imagine a scenario where he plays tomorrow night against the Hawks. There are some monster games in the near future that he must be healthy for.
As far as tonight is concerned, Adams was +9 with 6 points and 6 rebounds in 23 minutes.
Russ goes baseline for a first quarter hammer:
Russ throws a late lob in transition for Jerami Grant:
Brewer Watch. Corey Brewer logged 33 minutes and finished with 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals. He shot 4-of-8 from the floor was a -3. It was his third consecutive game to score in double-figures. As far as the other shooting guards are concerned, Terrance Ferguson returned from his concussion to see 11 minutes and scored three points. Alex Abrines scored six points in seven minutes. Josh Huestis was relegated to mostly bench duty, getting just three minutes of action. I can’t keep up with all this.
Ugly First Half. It’s difficult to adequately describe how bad the first half of this game was. The score was 19-16 after one quarter, and it was actually tied 24-24 with 6:25 to go in the second. There were 10 minutes of game time in which the teams combined to score 21 points and if it weren’t for a late scoring burst on both sides, who knows where this game ends up.
Terrible Third. The Thunder led by six at the break but then watched as Sacramento caught complete fire in the third quarter. The Kings shot 17-of-27 in the third, scored 39 points and took a one-point lead into the final frame. OKC was able to regain the lead and take the game — but that third quarter gave the entire contest an ominous feeling. This team lacks the ability to punish lesser opponents.
The Other Guys. Five Kings scored in double-figures: Bogdan Bogdanovic (19), Garrett Temple (15), Justin Jackson (15), De’Aaron Fox (11), and Zach Randolph (10).