Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook Prove They Can Still Coexist as Thunder Crush 76ers

By Brian Anderson
Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder came out of the gate fast and never looked back, denying the Philadelphia 76ers a lead at any point of the game en route to their third straight win after losing three in a row. The Sixers are not a tough team to beat these days, as the loss extended their losing streak to 15 in a row. Still, OKC was impressive on both ends of the floor for an entire 48 minutes of basketball.

The last meeting between these two teams was very similar. The Thunder piled up point after point as Kevin Durant notched a triple-double. On Tuesday night, Durant went off for 42 points, but that was not as impressive as what his teammate accomplished. Russell Westbrook only played 20-minutes of basketball, but he managed to get a triple-double in the process — something no NBA player has done since 1955 when Jim Tucker recorded one in 17-minutes as a member of the Syracuse Nationals, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

During their three-game losing streaks, masses of critics were quick to blame Westbrook’s return for the Thunder’s troubles. Anyone who has kept a close eye on this team all season knew that they would bounce back, regardless of what the problem was at this time. Now, Westbrook is playing up to his potential and OKC has returned to their winning ways. Since Westbrook’s return, he is averaging 18.5 points, 7.0 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game. Those stats are very impressive for a player who is just coming back from his third knee surgery in under a year’s time. Many thought that his return would mean less production from Durant, who was putting up career-best statistics while Russell sat out.

The truth is that Durant has been just as impressive with Westbrook back in the lineup. His 42-points in three quarters of play against the 76ers were actually his second 40-plus game since his fashionable friend returned to action. In addition to those amazing stats, “The Slim Reaper” is putting up 34.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.8 assists while shooting over 50 percent from the field in his last six games — proving he can play at an extremely high level no matter who is on the court with him. These two superstars will continue to gel as the season continues. It is a scary thought, but the Thunder could be a lot better come playoff time, making their chances of winning an NBA championship better than good.

Brian Anderson is an NBA writer for Follow him on Twitter @MrAnderson035 “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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