— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 27, 2017
After a 6-game road trip that spanned over the last two weeks, the Oklahoma City Thunder finally returned home tonight to take on the Dallas Mavericks. The Thunder got off to a slow start, trailing by as much as 7 in the 2nd quarter and going into halftime down 53-55. Oklahoma City came out in the 3rd quarter, however, locked and loaded as they outscored Dallas 34-18 to take an 87-73 lead into the 4th quarter. Just when it looked like the game was about to get out of hand, the Mavericks ran off 11 straight points to start the 4th quarter and cut the Thunder lead to 3 before Domantas Sabonis hit a 3 to push it back to 6. Dallas continued to keep the game close, but nothing could stop Russell Westbrook from scoring, and the Thunder finished strong to get the 109-98 victory.
Westbrook Explodes in the Second Half
Russell Westbrook came into tonight less than 24 hours removed from earning his 23rd triple-double of the season and 60th all-time. He had an efficient first half, shooting 5/10 from the field and 4/6 from the free throw line for 15 points. Russ came out in the second half and went on an absolute tear as he added 13 points in the 3rd quarter and 17 points in the 4th. Westbrook finished with 45 points total, his 7th times to score at least 40 this season, on 16/29 (55.2%) from the field, 4/8 (50%) from 3, and 9/11 (81.8%) from the free throw line. He also added 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.
Russell Westbrook put up 40+ Pts for the 7th time this season, most in the NBA. pic.twitter.com/mkfjtq9kDI
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 27, 2017
Oladipo Continues Strong Play
Since returning from his wrist injury, Victor Oladipo has been consistently incredible. He struggled somewhat at times before the injury, but he’s settled in quite nicely since his return, and he’s consistently scoring close to his average of 16.2 points per game. Tonight, Dipo scored 17 points on 7/14 (50%) from the field. This was his 5th time in the last 7 games to score at least 17 points and his 5th time in the last 9 games to shoot at least 50% from the field. Oladipo is also shooting a career-high 37.6% from behind the arc, which has greatly helped the Thunder in spreading out the floor. While he continues to grow more and more comfortable in the Thunder’s offense, Oladipo can expect to find himself in the position to be a consistent contributor for Oklahoma City.
Kanter Injures Hand
Enes Kanter had a rough start tonight, and after playing only 9 minutes, he was whistled for an offensive foul which was questionable at best. Kanter power dribbled into the paint and made contact with Dallas big man Salah Mejri who hit the deck in dramatic fashion. A timeout immediately followed the foul call, and as soon as Kanter made it to the bench, he unloaded on a chair, injuring what appeared to be his hand in the process.
Kanter is done for the evening with a wrist injury. He did it punching a chair earlier in the game. Take a look. pic.twitter.com/nWrs5h8c1t
— Up The Thunder (@UpTheThunder) January 27, 2017
Kanter did not return, and it is reported that he has sustained a fractured forearm. The recovery timetable looks to be 6-8 weeks, which would put him out until potentially just before the last few weeks of the regular season. With Kanter being out, the bench will look for player to pick up the slack, and Joffrey Lauvergne will likely see a spike in minutes.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 27, 2017
On the Road Again
After the first game in Oklahoma City in two weeks, the Thunder heads back out on the road to Cleveland where they will play the Cavaliers on Sunday. Oklahoma City is riding a 3-game win streak, while Cleveland has lost 3 in a row and 6 of their last 8. The Cavaliers do play Brooklyn tomorrow, so they will likely enter Sunday with a win, but the Thunder will look to capitalize on Cleveland’s struggles. Tip-off is set for 2:30 PM, and the game will be nationally televised on ABC. It will also be broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.