The Thunder did their best to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in their 122-118 road victory over the Kings.
Sacramento trailed by 12 points within the final two minutes of the game, but an Enes Kanter turnover converted to a Darren Collison three-pointer with 1:08 remaining, and the Kings triggered a frenzied 16-8 run in the final minute and a half.
“There are just so many things in that last 1:23 that will be incredible and invaluable teaching points to our guys,” Donovan said. “Fortunately enough, we won. Give our guys credit. We stepped up and made free throws, which was really good. But the offensive rebounding, the turnovers and fouling the shooters were things you can’t do closing out games.”
The Thunder turned the ball over three times in the final minute and a half of action.
Russell Westbrook posted his 20th triple-double of the season. scoring 36 points, grabbing 11 rebounds, and dishing out 10 assists. He didn’t play particularly well in the first half, but he came alive in the second, scoring 25 and adding seven rebounds and four assists. 13 of his points came in the fourth quarter alone.
Westbrook was able to put away the game with this steal and layup in the closing seconds:
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 16, 2017
One reason for OKC’s late game troubles was the absence of Steven Adams, who left the game in the third quarter to undergo concussion protocol. Adams was (big surprise here) tangled up with the Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins and hit the ground. He left the the game with concussion-like symptoms and his status for Monday’s game against the LA Clippers is in doubt.
Enes Kanter is no Adams replacement, but he played well in his role, scoring a season-high 29 points in 32 minutes and adding 12 boards. It was what didn’t show up on the statline that his coach was most impressed with:
“Cousins is a hard guy to defend when he’s coming at you like that, and then obviously his ability to shoot the ball,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “[Kanter] played an exceptional game on both ends of the floor. I was really pleased with the way he stepped up.”
Cousins ended up with 31 points and 11 rebounds, but didn’t shoot particularly efficiently–8 of 20, 1 of 6 from deep–and turned the ball over six times. You can thank Kanter for a large part of that.
Rudy Gay was the next-leading scorer for the Kings with 22 points, but he also struggled from the field, shooting just 6 of 18.
OKC’s next leading scorers were Victor Oladipo and Alex Abrines, with 23 and 13 points, respectively.
The Thunder improve to 25-17, while the Kings fall to 16-24. The Thunder take on the Clippers in Los Angeles tonight. Tipoff is at 9:30.