Russell Westbrook and Paul George both recorded triple-doubles on Monday night as they led the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 120-111 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Paul George led the way early as he put up 17 first quarter points while shooting 7-9 (77.8%) from the floor, including 4-4 (100.0%) from 3. Russell Westbrook went to work stuffing the stat sheet as well as he scored 4 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, and handed out 2 assists, and Deonte Burton saw some early minutes as he hit 2 threes, including one at the buzzer, to add in 6 points. CJ McCollum led the Blazers with 7 points, but Damian Lillard struggled with foul trouble early on, and at the end of the first period, OKC was on top 36-26.
The Thunder kept their foot on the gas pedal and turned it up on defense in the second quarter as they pushed their lead to 18 early in the period. Raymond Felton, who had not played in nearly 2 months, came in and scored 7 quick points to fuel the bench, and Burton hit another 3 as well.
Felton kept the scoring going as he put up 15 points headed into halftime, Paul George had a game-high 25 points, and Russell Westbrook was working on his NBA record 10th consecutive triple-double as he had 12 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists to lead the Thunder to a 68-49 lead at the half.
The Blazers jumped on the Thunder to start the third as Portland scored 7 straight points before OKC could get something on the board. The Thunder managed a 9-2 run after Portland’s jump start, which gave them a 77-58 lead with 7:19 left in the period. The Blazers went on a tear for the rest of the quarter as they outscored OKC 24-10, including a 10-0 run to end the third. With just one quarter left, the Thunder held a slim 87-82 lead.
The Blazers were within 5 points to start the fourth quarter, but that was as close as they would get the rest of the game. Paul George stayed hot from beyond the perimeter, and he hit his last one of the night off a pass from Russell Westbrook which gave Westbrook his NBA-record 10th consecutive triple-double (21 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists). Just a couple of minutes later, Westbrook hit a 3 off a pass from George to give George a triple-double as well (47 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assist), making the duo just the 9th pair of teammates in NBA history to triple-double in the same game.
The historic evening was just another highlight as the Thunder cruised to the 120-111 victory over Portland, effectively clinching the season series against the Blazers.
Thunder Player of the Game
Paul George and Russell Westbrook had historic nights, but tonight’s Thunder Player of the Game goes to rookie Deonte Burton. Burton is just a two-way player who gets limited time with the Thunder, but after tonight’s performance, the argument that he deserves a full contract is as strong as ever. Burton finished the game with 18 points while shooting 7-9 (77.8%) from the floor, including 3-5 (60.0%) from 3.
3 Quick Thoughts
- Right Guys at the Right Time: The NBA’s best teams are not simply the ones with the best guys on the court to start the game. The league’s absolute best have guys that come off the bench and make an impact at opportune times. Tonight, Raymond Felton, who had not seen the court since December 30th, stepped in for the absent Dennis Schröder and lit things up. Deonte Burton, a two-way player who is potentially going to earn a spot on the 15-man roster soon, came in and was hot from 3. These types of performances are what separate good teams from great teams, and the Thunder has had a number of guys this season step up on any given night and do what it takes to put OKC over the top.
- PG13 Is On Something: Paul George is playing out of his mind right now, and the Thunder is streaking because of it. George worked his way into MVP talks a couple of months ago, but he has cemented himself as a legitimate contender with his recent play. If he continues to play at this level, scoring at a ridiculous rate on one end while shutting down opponents on the other, then there is really no way that he will not at the least be a finalist for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.
- Keep It Rollin’: OKC has won 11 of the last 12 games, which is their best stretch of basketball so far this season. Considering how difficult the Thunder’s schedule has been, this is incredibly encouraging looking at the rest of the regular season. This team continues to show a resilience that fits in with the character of Oklahoma City, and because of that, a win is always on the table.
On the Road Again
The Thunder is headed back out on the road, and this time, they are going to New Orleans where they will play the Pelicans for a Valentine’s Day matchup. The Thunder is 2-1 against the Pelicans so far this season, including a 122-116 victory in OKC a couple of weeks ago. Tip-off is set for 7 PM CT, and it will be televised on FSOK and broadcast on the radio at WWLS 98.1 FM.
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