Westbrook's Passing Keys Thunder Romp In Sacramento

Saturday, January 26th 2013, 12:25 am
By: News 9

Russell Westbrook wasn't going to let his poor performance against Golden State hinder his play going forward. Friday night in Sacramento, it wasn't his shooting that helped him control the game, but his passing.

Westbrook dished out 14 assists, including a Thunder franchise record-tying eight in the third quarter alone, and scored 18 points to lead the Thunder to an easy 105-95 win over the Sacramento Kings.

Westbrook's passing helped key an effective Oklahoma City offensive attack. The Thunder assisted on 27 of its 37 made baskets and shot 48.7 percent for the game.

Kevin Durant had a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Kevin Martin scored 24 points off the bench, including 15 points in the first half.

Tyreke Evans scored 16 points to lead the Kings while Demarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson each chipped in 14 points.

The Thunder started slowly out of the gate, struggling to shoot the ball and playing poor defense. Sacramento took advantage, jumping out to a 23-9 lead with 5:09 remaining in the first quarter.

OKC slowly chipped away at the lead, thanks to Martin's hot start and by clamping down on the defensive end. The Thunder went on a 21-7 run to tie the score at 30 just after the start of the second quarter on Martin's third three-pointer of the game.

The Thunder took its first lead at 38-37 with 7:50 remaining in the quarter, and slowly extended that lead over the remainder of the period, heading to the locker room with a 58-51 lead.

The third quarter was where Oklahoma City put the game away. With Westbrook making some terrific passes to teammates for layups, the Thunder opened up a 25-point lead on yet another Martin jumper with 1:32 remaining in the quarter. At that point, OKC had outscored the Kings 28-10 in the period to make the score 86-61.

Thabo Sefolosha scored all 10 of his points in the period and OKC forced six Sacramento turnovers. Westbrook helped to really frustrate the Kings, taking 5'9 point guard Isaiah Thomas to the blocks and drawing three fouls on the much smaller guard in about two minutes. Thomas also picked up a technical foul after his fifth personal foul with 6:01 remaining in the quarter.

With the win, the Thunder improved to 3-2 on its six-game road trip. Oklahoma City will close out the West Coast swing with a trip to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.