OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – The Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder like their possibilities with the ball in Russell Westbrook’s arms on the finish of a sport.
Westbrook hit a Three-pointer with 1.7 seconds left to cap a 30-point, 15-assist outing, and the Thunder held off the resilient Hawks 120-117 on Friday night time. Carmelo Anthony added 24 factors on 7-of-12 Three-point capturing and Paul George scored 17 for the Thunder, who’ve gained 5 of their final six after a 12-14 begin.
“I feel we all know now find out how to shut and the place we’ll to shut,” George mentioned. “Russ is our chief. … We knew that we might type of mess them up with the play that we had, trigger some confusion. They backed off and Russ had a simple, open alternative. Russ is nearly as good as anyone when it is closing time.”
Atlanta, in final place within the Southeast Division, made Oklahoma Metropolis work for this one, rallying after falling behind by 16 factors within the first half, and once more by seven within the closing minutes. Marco Belinelli scored 30 factors to guide Atlanta. Ersan Ilyasova added 22 factors for the Hawks, who went 15 of 32 from Three-point vary.
“There are a number of issues you may be taught from a sport like tonight,” Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer mentioned. “It is robust to not have the shot or the bounce on the finish of the sport, however to compete and play the way in which we did, actually each halves, however notably the second half … hopefully our workforce can take one thing from tonight about how we performed.”
The Hawks led 92-88 with eight:49 left after a basket by Kent Bazemore. Westbrook re-entered the sport and led the Thunder on a 16-5 run. Anthony’s Three-pointer with 5:34 left gave Oklahoma Metropolis a 104-97 lead.
The Hawks got here again once more, ultimately tying the sport at 117 on two free throws by Ilyasova with 11.1 seconds left. After a timeout, George inbounded to Westbrook, who made the ultimate shot over Atlanta’s Taurean Prince. With no timeout, the Hawks might handle solely a desperation heave on the buzzer.
“We put ourselves in place to (win) the basketball sport with the final shot and it went down,” a hoarse Westbrook mentioned.
The Thunder dominated the second quarter. They broke a 28-28 tie with a 14-2 run to begin the quarter, with Raymond Felton and George every hitting two Three-pointers. After the Hawks pulled inside 51-43, Oklahoma Metropolis went on a 13-5 run and led 64-50 at halftime.
Atlanta scored 11 straight factors to chop the Thunder result in 74-70 halfway by means of the third quarter.
Oklahoma Metropolis made solely 19 of 31 free throws.
Hawks: Atlanta performed with out G Dennis Schroder, who sat out with a left ankle damage and was changed within the beginning lineup by Belinelli. Schroder had began and performed 32 minutes Wednesday vs. Indiana. … Prince went 1 of three from Three-point vary and now has at the least one Three-pointer in career-best 14 straight video games. … Belinelli prolonged his streak of consecutive free throws to 28 … Atlanta is 2-7 vs. Western Convention groups this season.
Thunder: Westbrook was referred to as for an unsportsmanlike technical foul with Three:24 left within the second quarter for shoving Malcolm Delaney after Delaney had fouled him. … Steven Adams had 16 factors and 10 rebounds. … The Thunder now path solely 66-65 of their all-time sequence with the Hawks, together with the franchise’s time in Seattle. … George and Westbrook entered the sport ranked first and second, respectively, within the NBA in steals at 2.45 and a couple of.10. George had three steals in opposition to the Hawks, and Westbrook had two.
The Hawks’ defensive choices on the ultimate play had been considerably restricted by Westbrook’s talent set, Budenholzer mentioned. Attempt to guard him carefully and he would possibly race by the defender. Give him area, and he might knock down a Three-pointer.
“Along with his pace and explosion, it is robust to get into him from that far-off from the basket,” Budenholzer mentioned. “When he is attacking and getting downhill, that is not simple. So when he pulls up from three or 4 ft behind the Three-point line, little question he is able to doing it. He is carried out it a number of instances and he did it tonight, so that you tip your cap to him and you have simply acquired to take it.”