Thunder: Robertson to attend Thunder regular-season finale
- Author: Julie Sanders Apr 13, 2017,
Apr 13, 2017, 10:43
NIKOLA Jokic showed the way as the also-ran Denver Nuggets defeated the Thunder, 111-105, on Wednesday in Oklahoma City (Thursday, Manila time).
Domantas Sabonis had 19 points as six players scored in double figures for the Thunder despite MVP candidate Westbrook missing his first game of the season to rest.
To put the achievement into context, the last player to score more than 2,000 points in his second season in the National Basketball Association was none other than LeBron James. He was showing off his shooting, scoring at the rim, athletic ability, and his off-ball cutting and looked like he belonged on the court the entirety of the game. His 42 this season would be good enough for eighth all time.
"He's played with passion and pride and it's outstanding what he's done, the way he did it. You don't want to miss out on an opportunity to go out there and try to play as well as you can".
Westbrook has twice as many triple-doubles this season as any other National Basketball Association player.
It was Oladipo's turn to run the team for the first time of the year. Since the All-Star Break, the Timberwolves centerpiece has put up a ridiculous stat-line of 28.4 points, 13.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 three-pointers per game. The Thunder ran a layup line for a while against a exhausted Denver defense, as most of the Nuggets weren't used to either heavy minutes or back-to-backs.
Russell Westbrook is finally taking a night off. The Nuggets continued to chip away at the Thunder lead as Jokic endlessly battled down low with all of the Thunder bigs.
Westbrook played just 18 minutes and ended the night with five points, eight assists and five rebounds for Oklahoma City.
Jamal Murray found some rhythm and helped the Nuggets take a two-point lead in the third quarter after making a pull-up three in transition off of a feed from Beasley.
Denver spent the fourth quarter staving off the Thunder. "MVP.". Denver F Danilo Gallinari rested and didn't suit up in the final game.
Jokic then began hunting for what would be this seventh triple-double of the year and the Nuggets offense started sputtering. Abrines hit three 3s in the first half, but Denver closed on a 7-2 spurt to make it single digits again at halftime, 64-56 despite being out-rebounded 30-17. "But the only way we can do that is to go in tomorrow with the energy and discipline needed to win".
The Thunder gathered at midcourt, along with Robertson, to salute Westbrook. But Oladipo responded with his 21-footer, and Westbrook was the first one off the bench to greet him as the Thunder celebrated a confidence-building win. Westbrook, though, nixed that idea, wanting the focus to be as much on Robertson and his accomplishments as a Hall of Famer as himself.