Oklahoma City Thunder holds off Sacramento to win 10th straight

Kevin Durant scored 31 points, Serge Ibaka added 18 points and 11 rebounds and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Sacramento Kings 113-103 on Friday night for their 10th straight win.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: December 14, 2012

Russell Westbrook has gotten pretty good at this passing thing.

And the Thunder has become nearly unbeatable when he's at his best distributing the ball.

Westbrook scored 13 points with a game-high 13 assists to lead the Thunder to a fairly routine 113-103 victory over Sacramento on Friday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.

It was Westbrook's team-leading ninth double-double and his seventh game this year with at least 10 assists. Last year, Westbrook recorded at least 10 assists only six times all season, and that included a 20-game postseason run.

“The way he's been playing the last 10 games is as good as any point guard in this league,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “He finds guys. That's what we want.”

Westbrook's 13 assists tied his season high and fell just three short of matching his career high. Had his big men bobbled fewer passes, Westbrook could have easily surpassed his 16-assist high mark.

“He's a great passer,” Durant said. “He's getting into the lane and making the right decisions. I wish I could have made a few for him. I wish we could have caught a few more for him and maybe he would have had his career high in assists tonight. But he still had 13 of them. He's doing a great job of just facilitating and making our offense work. Coach is trusting him with the ball and he's making the right plays.”

Durant scored a game-high 31 points on 10-for-14 shooting. Serge Ibaka scored 18 points with 11 rebounds, and Kevin Martin added another 18 points off the bench. Thabo Sefolosha chipped in a season-high 15 points. But it was Westbrook's playmaking that provided the balanced scoring that allowed the Thunder to lead by as many as 24 points before bumping its record to 19-4, the franchise's best start to a season in the Oklahoma City era.

Following its point guard's lead, the Thunder finished with 29 assists and improved to 6-1 when Westbrook has at least 10 assists.

“I thought Russell did a terrific job to start the game and in that first half (with) his passing,” said Brooks. “He was getting guys easy shots. He was demanding a double team and kicking it out quickly.”

With less than a minute remaining in the third quarter, Westbrook sat on 11 assists — the same amount the entire Kings team had at that juncture. It would have been more if Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins held onto multiple passes Westbrook made after slicing into the lane and drawing a secondary defender only to see his setups slip through the hands of his big men.

“Our bigs are going to have to continue to be ready to catch the ball because he's looking and he's finding,” Brooks said. “And we've done a good job with our spacing and I think that's helping him and helping all of our players.”


by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
+ show more


Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    It’s harder to be a poor student in the U.S. than in Russia
  2. 2
    Man fatally stabbed in west Tulsa early Sunday
  3. 3
    How brain imaging can be used to predict the stock market
  4. 4
    Bridenstine tours Fort Sill, satisfied with facility's transparency
  5. 5
    10 Most Popular Wedding 'First Dance' Songs
+ show more