The Thunder came into Wednesday night’s game knowing they had to do work. OKC held only a 1.5 game lead over Los Angeles for the two spot in the West and needed the road win to stay ahead. With their starting five in place for the first time in a long time, the Thunder managed to eek out a 107-101 win in a match-up that could likely repeat itself in the playoffs.
Russell Westbrook put up 30 points in his return after missing two of the previous three games. It was the team effort on both sides of the ball that secured the win. Serge Ibaka came up with a big block of J.J. Redick’s three-pointer with 10 seconds left and added 15 points for the Thunder, who had their starting lineup together for just the second time since Christmas Day.
It wasn’t just the fight to stay ahead in the standings as the Thunder. They need the win because the Clippers could’ve owned the tiebreaker over the Thunder if they had won. Instead, the teams split their season series 2-2. “To win big games, you got to do the little things. We did all those things,” Westbrook said. “We’re an older group. We’ve been together for some years. Once these guys get their legs under them, we’re going to be in good shape.”
And, of course, when two fast-paced, high-flying teams get together, there were dunks. On dunks. On dunks. So if this is what we could see come playoff time, everyone should be in for prime NBA action.