By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Oklahoma City beat Utah 106-94 on Friday night. Here’s some rapid reaction:
Using a 15-5 run to start the fourth quarter, Utah cut the Thunder’s once comfortable lead to five points, scaring the home crowd but waking up the home team. OKC accepted the challenge, led by an amped up Russell Westbrook, going on a 9-2 run over the next two minutes to put the game out of reach.
Star of the game – Russell Westbrook
The Thunder’s high-strung point guard was wildly effective Friday night (with emphasis on the wild). From the jump, he had a different kind of energy, the kind no other human in the building is capable of giving. Westbrook blitzed the Jazz with his relentless motor, controlling the game in all facets and leading the Thunder to a relatively easy win. Nothing describes Westbrook’s crazy night as aptly as his stacked box score: 23 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, seven steals and eight turnovers.
Storyline – Offense
Same as it has been the entire homestand. The Thunder is scoring at a crazy rate right now, putting up 100 or more points in eight consecutive games (the longest streak since the franchise relocated to Oklahoma City). And that’s been highlighted in the past three home games, where OKC is averaging 113.3 points on 52.5 percent shooting. Currently, the Thunder are averaging an NBA-best 105.4 points per game.
Stats of note
-Kevin Durant has been lights out the past three games, shooting a scorching 63 percent (27-43) from the field. He’s really hitting an offensive stride and the points will continue to pour in.
-Kendrick Perkins had his best offensive performance of the season, scoring 12 points on 6-9 shooting. It’s only the second time this year he’s hit double-digits.
-Thabo Sefolosha’s impressive three-point streak finally ended. He’d hit at least one in eight consecutive games, but went 0-1 on Friday. Before that, his career-long streak was four.
-Serge Ibaka has 13 blocks the past two games.
Westbrook had one on Friday? Of course he did.
“Still got to do a better job of taking care of the ball though.” -Westbrook postgame, thinking about his eight turnovers more than some of his other gaudy numbers.
Oklahoma City travels to New Orleans for the second time this season, facing the Hornets tomorrow night at 7 p.m. on the back end of a rare home and road back-to-back. The Thunder smoked the Hornets 110-95 a couple weeks ago.