After a sluggish start with Kevin Durant sidelined due to injury, the Thunder used a dominant second half to beat the 76ers 102-85 on Friday night inside of Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Oklahoma City improves to 6-3 with the win and gets set to host the Boston Celtics on Sunday night at 6 p.m. on the third installment of “Sunset Sunday”.
Russell Westbrook recorded his second triple-double in as many games with a finishing stat-line of 21 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists. Westbrook’s 17 rebounds were a career high, and the dynamic point guard recorded both of his triple-doubles in less than 30 minutes of playing time. It marks Westbrook’s 12th triple double in his last 42 games.
As great as his final stats were, Westbrook struggled to get in a rhythm early, shooting 2-for-10 in the first half while the Thunder only led 48-43 at intermission. OKC only shot 41 percent in the first two quarters, but fortunately for the Thunder, the Sixers shot at an even worse clip of 38 percent.
It was a back-and-forth third quarter, and the Sixers were able to pull within one point at 62-61 with 2:32 remaining in the frame. Oklahoma City then clamped down on defense which in turn led to better offense, and were able to extend its lead to 71-61 by the end of the quarter. Oklahoma City had eleven blocks in the first three quarters.
The Thunder were rolling on all cylinders in the fourth quarter as they went on to outscore the Sixers by seven points in the frame and hold on for the victory.
Westbrook and Serge Ibaka combined to shoot 12-for-34 in the game, but despite the poor shooting night they were each able to get involved in other facets of the game to pick up some of the slack with Durant sidelined. Enes Kanter added 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench, while Morrow filled in for Durant in the starting lineup and scored 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
After not doing much to start the season, Nick Collison provided a nice spark off the bench in the first half. Collison used his veteran savvy and hustle to make an impact on the game, and finished with six points and eight rebounds.
Christian Wood led the Sixers in scoring with 15 points off the bench, while rookie big-man Jahlil Okafor struggled all night and only totaled six points on 3-of-18 shooting. Ibaka and Adams both did a tremendous job of protecting the rim all night long for OKC.
With Durant expected to be sidelined at least another week, the Thunder will need to continue to play stout defense moving forward.