OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The worst three-point shooting team in the NBA at 30 percent flipped the script tonight during a 124-109 win over the Atlanta Hawks (5-18).
Alex Abrines had his best game since a virus kept him out for two weeks. The sharpshooting Spaniard shot 7-for-11 from beyond the arc, finishing with 21 points.
“The shots were just going in,” Abrines said in the locker room. “I felt good the other night they just weren’t going in. Tonight thankfully they went in.”
Abrines’ shooting rubbed off on the rest of his team. Oklahoma City (14-7) hit 18 (season high) of their 41 (ties a season high) shots from three, good enough for 44 percent.
The shooting was particularly great in the second quarter when the Thunder pushed a two point first quarter lead to 20. Oklahoma City was 7-of-13 from three. A 38-20 quarter for the Thunder was too much for the Hawks to overcome.
“I get it, it’s his job to make shots,” Billy Donovan said after the game. “That’s what he does well. I think it speaks to Alex’ character as a player that he can go 1-for-9 the other night and see him make big shots tonight.”
The Thunder’s defense was impressive once again. Oklahoma City leads the league in points off turnovers and continued that trend tonight. The Thunder scored 31 points off of 20 Hawks turnovers.
“I thought we played fast,” Donovan said. “They’re a team that likes to play fast and I thought we matched that.”
Russell Westbrook finished one rebound shy of a triple-double, finishing with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists.
Westbrook enjoyed the matchup with rookie and former Oklahoma Sooner Trae Young. The battle between the two guards was one-sided as Westbrook blasted Young with numerous “rock-the-baby” gestures.
Young was unable to get anything going offensively. Whether it was hitting his own shot — 4-of-15 and 0-of-3 from three — or setting up his teammates to score, nothing seemed to go his way. He finished with nine points.
The rookie’s frustration became apparent when he received his first technical foul of his NBA career with 58.9 seconds to go in the first half after complaining to the official.
The Thunder even received helped from backup center Nerlens Noel. The former Kentucky Wildcat registered his second double-digit scoring output since joining Oklahoma City, finishing with 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting, three steals and a block.
Oklahoma City will now go on a three-game road trip ending next Friday. The Thunder will take on the Detroit Pistons on Monday at 6:00 p.m.