After a historic night in Cleveland, the Thunder found themselves in an odd position in their return to Chesapeake Energy Arena against the Brooklyn Nets.
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Fortunately, there was a phenom named Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook saw an opening and attacked Jarrett Allen without hesitation as he put up the ball with a tough layup with 3.3 seconds left as the Oklahoma City Thunder prevailed against the Brooklyn Nets, 109-108 for their 5th straight win, last 24th of January 2018.
The Thunder trailed by as many as 15 points coming into the fourth quarter, and they outscored the Nets 35-23 to claw their way back into the game with another heroic performance from Russell Westbrook, who scored 10 of his 32 points in the quarter.
Thunder opened the game with a pull-up jump shot from Paul George. The Thunder struggled all season long against teams below .500, and that was witnessed all night as the Nets answered back throughout the first quarter. Both teams exchanged blows, but Paul George took a last second shot from the elbow to give the Thunder a 4-point lead, the biggest lead they had all game long to end the first quarter, 30-26.
After that, nothing was easy for the Thunder. They shot 6-25 in the second quarter while Spencer Dinwiddie flourished the Nets as he drew every contact he could, attacking the paint while stretching the Thunder's wing defenders to help. Joe Harris, who scored 19 for the Nets, faked a shot over Ferguson and pulled up to retake the lead. Nets' intense defense paralyzed the Thunder offense in the second quarter, including a 13-second defensive stop where the Thunder missed three straight field goal attempts before Dinwiddie put up a 3-pointer to put the lead at 46-38 with 5:44 in the quarter.
Carmelo Anthony, who was red-hot in the Thunder's thumping of the Cavs, went missing the game as he scored only 10 points on 4-12 shooting, and two missed attempts from the trey in the second quarter. The Nets capped off a 33-17 second quarter to edge the Thunder with a 57-49 lead at the half.
The second half saw both teams go back and forth, basket after basket; the Thunder were relentless as they tried to push back and trim the lead, but every time they try to spark a little run, the Nets would answer with a run of their own - but only enough to maintain the lead they had, including a three from D'Angelo Russell as the Nets led 82-68 with 1:57 to go in the third. The Thunder managed to cut the Nets' lead to 11 points on a Paul George jumper as they head to the final quarter trailing 85-74.
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The Thunder took over the fourth as Raymond Felton scored the first 10 points for and came close at 92-87 after a three from Patrick Patterson, then he hit another three but this time Westbrook was orchestrating the plays to cut the lead to just two. Westbrook tied the game on a bank shot at 95 with 6:51 to go, and took the same shot to give the Thunder their first lead of the game since the first quarter, 97-96.
Dinwiddie took the helm and dished out two three-pointers to Carroll and Hollis-Jefferson as they retake the lead, 104-101. Steven Adams, who scored only 6 points prior to a strong night in Cleveland, made a layup on a pass from Westbrook to eke out a 105-104 lead. But Dinwiddie showed off a glimpse of his quick basketball IQ after faking a layup and passing to Allen for a dunk and give the lead back to the Nets.
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After two free throws from Westbrook, Spencer Dinwiddie took a step on Anthony and beat him to the rim with a late recovery from Andre Roberson as he took a finger roll layup and put the deuce on as the Nets lead 108-107 with 7.8 seconds to go.
With the crowd on its feet, Russell Westbrook showed his speed and stepped on the gas with a strong, crafty layup over Allen, not minding the contact as he never looked back as the Thunder now are up 109-108 with 3.3 seconds left.
Andre Roberson took one last defensive stop as Dinwiddie took a step back for a three, but Roberson's long arms surely disrupted his form and missed a little bit on his three-point attempt as the Thunder survive the Nets after rallying from 15 down to win their 5th straight, 109-108.
OKC: Westbrook - 32 points, 5 boards, 6 assists, 2 steals.
George - 28 points, 9 boards.
Felton - 14 points, 2 boards, 4 assists. (6-8 FG)
Anthony - 10 points, 8 boards.
BKN: Harris - 19 points.
Dinwiddie - 13 points, 3 boards, 7 assists.
Carroll - 13 points, 2 boards, 3 assists.
Allen - 12 points, 11 boards.
Crabbe - 12 points, 6 boards.
Hollis-Jefferson - 11 points, 6 boards, 3 assists.
Next for OKC: Homestand continues against Wizards.
Next for BKN: Visit Giannis and the Bucks.