Russell Westbrook put forth an MVP-caliber performance and the up-and-down Oklahoma City Thunder finally had the look of a dominant unit. They will try to build off a victory over the defending NBA champs when they wrap up a two-game homestand against the Detroit Pistons on Friday.
Westbrook had 34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals as the Thunder ran away from the Golden State Warriors 108-91 on Wednesday, snapping a two-game slide while extending the squad’s home winning streak to four. “It’s just great to get a win,” Westbrook told reporters, downplaying a sometimes-testy rematch with former Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant, and the fact that his team ended a seven-game slide against the mighty Warriors. “That’s it. Just one game at a time.” The Pistons have dropped three of four since a five-game winning streak and Monday’s 116-88 loss to Cleveland at home was their most lopsided setback of the season. “I’m not upset at our guys. I didn’t see our guys quitting or anything like that,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters. “We got a little bit shell shocked.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, FSN Oklahoma
ABOUT THE PISTONS (11-6): Center Andre Drummond has shown vast improvement at the foul line (career-best 61.5 percent) and in the assist department (career-high 3.4), but as the big man looks to pass more often the turnovers are also piling up. “Andre was really trying to be really, really unselfish to a fault,” Van Gundy told the media Wednesday after Drummond had six turnovers for the second straight game versus Cleveland. “He was making the pass his first option and then he was hesitant instead of going to score and draw help.” Drummond, who entered the season averaging 1.5 turnovers per game, is averaging five giveaways during his last six outings and 3.4 on the season.
ABOUT THE THUNDER (8-9): Westbrook had plenty of help from the other members of Oklahoma City’s power trio, as Carmelo Anthony registered 22 points and Paul George had 20 in the win over the Warriors. “They’re amazing talents,” Golden State guard Stephen Curry said of the threesome. “They’ve been playing at a high level in their careers all throughout. It’s a little different. Obviously what Russ does is pretty much the same, but you’ve got to understand how they try to work off of each other and play solid one-on-one defense.” Steven Adams had 12 rebounds, George added 11 and Westbrook had his 10 as Oklahoma City dominated Golden State on the glass 50-39, its second-largest advantage in that category this season.
1. The Thunder’s eight wins have come by an average of 17.8 points.
2. Pistons F Tobias Harris is shooting 37.7 percent over his last four games after making more than 50 percent of his shots in eight of his first 13 contests.
3. The teams split two meetings last season and Oklahoma City is 8-1 at home against Detroit.
PREDICTION: Thunder 109, Pistons 101