On the second night of a back-to-back, the Oklahoma City Thunder had one of their best performances of the season. The defense played with a high level of intensity for most of the game, and a number of different players stepped up for the Thunder as they defeated the Detroit Pistons 106-88 to move to 10-8 on the season and 7-4 at home.
Defense Fuels Thunder to Victory
For the third time this season, the Oklahoma City Thunder held their opponent to under 90 points, moving to 3-0 in such games. Detroit is not a particularly great team offensively, but Oklahoma City did a fantastic job of forcing the Pistons into bad shots. The Thunder held the Pistons to 45.1% from the field and an amazing 5.3% on 1/19 shooting from three, an area where the Thunder has struggled lately.
Despite the Pistons being one of the league’s top teams when it comes to rebounding, the Thunder played with urgency winning the battle of the boards 43 to 32. Oklahoma City had a late overtime game in Denver last night, but rest did not seem like an issue as the Thunder worked hard to take an early lead and hold on to it until the very end.
Russell Westbrook Continues to Make History
Despite playing the back end of a back-to-back, Russell Westbrook seemingly cannot slow down as he put up yet another triple-double as he tallied 17 points, 15 assists, and 13 rebounds, making it seven on the season in only 17 games. Tonight’s triple-double marked the 44th of his career, tying Lebron James, who has played significantly more games than Westbrook has played, for 6th on the all-time list, and leaving him only 15 short of Larry Bird.
One significant stat that cannot go unnoticed for Russell Westbrook in his triple-double tonight is the fact that he was the Thunder’s third leading scorer. This was largely due to the fact that Westbrook is capable of getting his teammates involved in a variety of different ways.
Anthony Morrow Shines
For much of last season, Anthony Morrow seemed to be in Head Coach Billy Donovan’s doghouse. Morrow did not play much when at all, and he was not really given a chance to be a contributor. A-Mo stayed positive, continued to work hard and stay professional, and when his time came early this season, he did not seem to play very well. Over the last few games, Morrow played like he was uncomfortable and did not seem to know what to do, especially on defense. That seemed to change in the second half last night and for the entire game tonight.
Anthony Morrow was the Thunder’s leading scorer tonight as he put up 21 points on 8/12 from the field, including 3/6 from beyond the arc. Though Morrow is known for being a three-point sharpshooter, he scored in a variety of ways tonight, including recognizing a mismatch and posting up his defender for some easy buckets.
The Thunder has desperately needed a consistent wing scorer, and though a couple of games is a small sample size, if Anthony Morrow is able to be a consistent threat, especially from behind the arc, then Oklahoma City will be a much more dangerous offensive weapon.
On Monday the Thunder will take on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden for Oklahoma City’s 6th game in 9 days. The Knicks had a rough start to the season losing six of their first nine, but they’ve won five of their last seven and are currently 7-2 at home. Tip-off is set for 6:30 PM CST. The game will be televised on FSOK, broadcast by WWLS the Sports Animal on 98.1 FM, and as always, you can follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter for live in-game updates.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.