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Thunder Outlasts Sixers Behind Westbrook's Big Night

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PHILADELPHIA -

In the first game of the post-Kevin Durant era, the Oklahoma City Thunder took care of business on the road in Philadelphia, beating the 76ers 103-97 inside of a rambunctious Wells Fargo Center.

Related: Thunder Social Scene: Steve Starts The Season In Philly

Russell Westbrook nearly tallied a triple-double in the win with 32 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, while he leaned on his big man duo of Steven Adams and Enes Kanter to help get the job done.

While the final score showed the Thunder on top, that’s not how most of the game played out.

Shaking off some early season rust, the Thunder started the game 1-for-9 from the field as the Sixers jumped out to an early 10-2 lead and held the advantage for most the game.

While his team struggled with spacing and ball control, Westbrook was a one-man wrecking crew. The dynamic point guard continuously showcased his ability in the fast break, while also flashed his scoring ability in the halfcourt offense.

Whether he was posting up a smaller defender, or feeding one of his cutting big men, Westbrook stayed busy making one play after another.

With the Thunder trailing 95-92 with 2:44 remaining in the game, Westbrook knocked down a tough contested jumper from 16-feet out to bring the Thunder within one, but he wasn’t done making big shots. With the game tied at 95-95, Westbrook worked his magic in the post before facing up and swishing a nothing-but-net jumper that gave OKC a 97-95 lead with just over a minute remaining in the game.

After Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid responded with a clutch jumper of his own, Westbrook showed why he’s one of the smartest players in the NBA. Westbrook took the ball to the elbow, jockeyed for position with Gerald Henderson, which forced the referee to call a foul on Henderson. It was a costly foul for the Sixers since they were in the bonus, and Westbrook calmly stepped to the line with 35 seconds left and put his team up 99-97 with two free throws.

Andre Roberson blocked Philadelphia’s game-tying shot attempt, which led to a Thunder fast break the other way that ultimately ended with a Kanter putback layup to seal the win.

Kanter finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds while his stache bro, Adams, added 16 points and five rebounds of his own.  Victor Oladipo struggled throughout most of the night in his Thunder debut, shooting 4-for-16 from the field and finishing with 10 points and five rebounds.

Reserve big man Ersan Ilyasova scored 10 points off the bench while rookie Domantas Sabonis scored five points and secured four rebounds in 16 minutes of action.

Embiid led a feisty Sixers team with 20 points and seven rebounds while Nik Stauskas came off the bench to total 13 points.

The Thunder (1-0) will be back in action on Friday when they host the Suns at 7:00 p.m. 

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