For the second consecutive night, Russell Westbrook recorded a double-double to lift the Thunder to a victory.
Westbrook's intensity was needed on Monday night as he gave Oklahoma City the jolt it needed in an otherwise lackluster effort in Detroit as the Thunder survived the winless Pistons 92-90. It also just so happened to be Westbrook's 24th birthday but it was the Thunder who got the gift of a win it probably didn't deserve thanks to its fiery point guard.
Oklahoma City trailed the vast majority of the contest, often by double digits, before Westbrook sparked a 17-2 run to start the fourth quarter and eventually overcome a pesky Piston team to send it to its first 0-8 start in franchise history.
Westbrook finished with a season-high 33 points to go with 10 rebounds, four rebounds and three assists with only two turnovers. He struggled a bit from the floor, shooting 11-for-25 but he made a habit out of getting to the charity stripe, where he knocked down 11-of-15 free throws.
It wasn't always pretty, but he made the plays when the Thunder needed them most. One play that helps to encapsulate his performance was when he pulled up for a contested jumper and decided against the decision in midair, instead throwing the ball off of Brandon Knight, recollecting it and driving in for a layup. It was that play and other scrappy plays like it by the Thunder's fifth-year spark plug that helped OKC overcome the Pistons on Monday for the team's fifth-straight victory.
Kevin Durant had an off night, going just 11-of-25 from the floor, but he nailed all 10 of his free throws and hauled in nine rebounds on his way to 26 points.
Serge Ibaka helped make up for a sloppy team effort on the defensive end with six blocks and he pulled down seven rebounds and chipped in 11 points. Kevin Martin was the only other Thunder player to reach double figures with 13 points on 2-for-8 shooting but, just like Westbrook and Durant, made the most of his trips to the foul line where he hit 8-of-8.
One of the main areas of concern for the Thunder coming out of this game was the spotty play of the rest of the team's role players outside of the big four of Westbrook, Durant, Martin and Ibaka. The six others players who played – Thabo Sefolosha, Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collison, Eric Maynor, Hasheem Thabeet and Jeremy Lamb – played 85 minutes and combined for just nine points, seven turnovers and 13 fouls.
Rodney Stuckey led the Pistons with 19 points and Greg Monroe chipped in 17 points and six rebounds.
Oklahoma City has Tuesday off before facing Memphis on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Chesapeake Energy Arena.