Westbrook and George light it up
Russell Westbrook and Paul George were unstoppable Tuesday night in Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
Westbrook scored 34 points and added nine rebounds, nine assists and three steals. It wasn’t the first time Westbrook had a big night against Golden State, though. He also scored 34 points in a Thunder victory on Nov. 22, 2017, against the Warriors in Oklahoma City.
George tallied a league-high 38 points, five rebounds, three assists and a season-high six steals. The duo combined for 72 of OKC’s 125 points and did so at a 49 percent shooting clip. The Thunder are 7-0 when George and Westbrook each score 28 points or more.
George and Westbrook also sit at first and second, respectively, in total steals among NBA players, and this has propelled the Thunder to lead the NBA in steals.
Warriors out of control
Twenty-five turnovers and four technical fouls tell the tale of the Warriors on Tuesday night. Golden State couldn’t get anything going offensively without the Thunder immediately countering. It was the first time since April 2012 that the Warriors never led in a home game. The Warriors began to grow frustrated with the aggressive Thunder defense and their perception of poor officiating. Steve Kerr, Andre Igoudala and Draymond Green received technical fouls. Green was ejected after receiving a pair of technicals. The technical fouls were his 12th and 13th of the season, a league-leading total.
The starting lineup accumulated 16 of the Warriors’ 25 turnovers, their highest total of the season. The Warriors lost despite recording a higher field-goal percentage and a higher rebounding total than OKC. Golden State has lost three of its last four games.
Thunder excel without key players
The victory Tuesday night snapped a four-game losing streak for the Thunder. OKC has struggled mightily since losing key defensive stopper Andre Roberson for the season because of a ruptured left patellar tendon. In the first quarter against the Warriors, Carmelo Anthony went down with an ankle injury. Anthony didn’t return to the game and was kept in the locker room at halftime. Even without Roberson and Anthony, the Thunder pressed on and came away with a victory. OKC made key shots and important defensive rotations against the Warriors, the league’s best team. The Thunder used contributions from Josh Huestis in his first NBA start, Jerami Grant and Alex Abrines to their advantage offensively and defensively. With the victory, OKC showed it can move forward through injuries to compete and win against the best teams in the NBA.
The Thunder play again on Thursday when they go to the Staples Center to face the Los Angeles Lakers.