Fresh off of two blowout wins over the Blazers and the Celtics earlier in the week, the Thunder continued its winning ways with a 111-97 bludgeoning of the 76ers on Friday night in Philadelphia. The Thunder clinched a spot in the postseason with the win.
“I think it’s a great accomplishment for this group of guys and this organization and the consistency these guys have been able to put themselves in postseason play,” Coach Billy Donovan said after securing a spot in the playoffs. “We’re excited about that but I think we also realize too what’s in front of us and the areas of improvement that we need to continue to grow in.”
In what was a predominantly sloppy game by both teams, the Thunder out-rebounded the Sixers by a staggering 63-36 mark, as OKC now moves to 2-0 on its current three-game Eastern Conference road trip. OKC’s 27 more rebounds than the Sixers marks the second largest rebounding margin in the history of the Thunder organization.
Russell Westbrook recorded his league leading 13th triple-double with 20 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists, while Kevin Durant scored 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Durant’s now scored 20 points or more in 54 straight games.
With just over nine minutes left in the third quarter, the Thunder only led by five points and was allowing Philly hang around. Fortunately for OKC, Durant and Westbrook wouldn’t let the feisty Sixers get too close, as the duo went on an 8-0 run by themselves which eventually developed into a 20-to-6 run by the Thunder as the road team went up 77-58 and put the game away in the third frame.
“Our defense in the third was really good,” Donovan said of the third quarter success. “I thought we took away the paint and I thought they really hung around in the first half because I thought (Ish) Smith, (Nik) Stauskas and all their guys… they had a lot of stuff at the basket.
“I thought the third quarter we made them shoot jump shots and were able to get clean rebounds and were able to get out on the break.”
The Thunder suffered a few miscues in the fourth quarter, but the starters were able to rest throughout the final stretch of the game as the Sixers failed to get any closer than 14 points the rest of the way.
Enes Kanter added 16 points and seven rebounds off the bench, while Steven Adams tallied a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Both Randy Foye and Dion Waiters each scored nine off the bench.
Stauskas led the Sixers in scoring with 23 points while Hollis Thompson totaled 16 of his own.
The Thunder will take on the Pacers tomorrow night at 6 p.m. as they finish off its road trip.