As a result, no Thunder starter played a single minute in the fourth quarter for the fourth time this season. The first five also sat the final 12 minutes against Phoenix, Houston and San Antonio.
“We wanted to come out and focus on playing the right way,” said Westbrook, who finished with 21 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals. “We did a good job of being the aggressors tonight.”
That's an understatement.
In the first half, the Thunder's trio of Durant, Westbrook and James Harden combined to outscore the entire Knicks team 53-47. By the break, Westbrook had already tied his season-high tally of eight assists.
The Thunder's 70 points at halftime were four short of the franchise's Oklahoma City-era record for the most scored in a half. Oklahoma City erupted for 74 on March 24, 2010 in an 18-point home win against Houston.
“We moved the basketball,” Durant explained of the first-half dominance. “We got some transition baskets with us playing defense, getting deflections and steals…We played together. That's the name of the game for us. If we continue to do that then we'll be fine.”
The Thunder moved to 11-2 after its sixth straight victory. Although Durant insisted his team isn't focused on the standings at this point, it's impossible to ignore the Thunder sitting atop the Western Conference standings and trailing Chicago by only a half game for the best record in the league.
“We're on a roll right now as far as the way we're playing,” Harden said.