The Oklahoma City Thunder have been one of the best offensive teams in the NBA all season. They average the second-most points per game in the league at 106.7 and shoot the ball with remarkable efficiency at 48.3 percent. It also helps that they have two of the most gifted offensive players in the league in Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
In their five games leading up to Tuesday night’s contest against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Thunder had been rolling. They’d gone 4-1 over the stretch and their offense had been even more potent than usual.
Over those five games, the Thunder had averaged 111.8 points per contest and shot the ball at 49.9 percent from the field. They even shot the ball at an incredible 41.1 percent rate from long-range over that stretch. Those improvements were largely due to the play of Durant and Westbrook, combined to average 56 points, 12 assists and 16 rebounds per game over their last five.
This trend continued against the Lakers. The Thunder topped the Lakers 122-105 on Tuesday night. They obviously scored the impressive 122 points, but they actually rolled to victory on a different way.
They actually shot below their season average on Tuesday at 47.9 percent. However, they were able to take 96 shots in the game. That was possible because they tied an NBA-record for fewest turnovers committed in a game, giving the ball up just twice for the entire game.
Westbrook was essential in the Thunder’s offensive proficiency. On a night where Durant shot just 9-of-22 from the field for 26 points, Westbrook went out and dominated. He put up 37 points on 15-29 shooting, dished out five assists, grabbed 10 boards and turned the ball over just once.
OKC seems to be shaping into playoff form at the moment, which is bad news for anyone that they have to play. Westbrook and Durant are both playing like the superstars they are and everything else is falling into place. The win over the Lakers may have hurt Los Angeles’ playoff hopes, but it feels like it made the Thunder’s chances at an NBA Finals appearance look much more likely.