Breakfast Special: Russell Westbrook’s G-League Spectacular!

The Oklahoma City Thunder have been soundly thwacked by the Minnesota Timberwolves, a team they might well see in the first round of the playoffs. The 104-88 loss was Oklahoma City’s third straight, all by double digits.

The funny thing about all this is Russell Westbrook, who has come alive recently, put up a monster performance; he had 38 points on 15-of-23 shooting, grabbed 10 rebounds to up his season average to 9.6, and dished five assists even though nobody else on his team could make a shot.

Westbrook is averaging 25.1 points, 9.6 boards, and 10.0 assists per contest, flirting with his second straight season averaging a triple-double.

Westbrook was 15-of-23. The rest of his team was 17-of-56 (30.3 percent.)

Meanwhile, the Timberwolves shot 48.8 percent, got 26 from Jimmy Butler and a clockwork double-double from Karl-Anthony Towns (18 points, 12 boards), and cruised to the win by playing…well, not as a team, since between Butler, Towns, and Andrew Wiggins (who had 19), that’s your lot for Wolves in double figures.

Minnesota also took care of the ball, turning it over 14 times to OKC’s 19. Put it all together, and Russ just had a flashback to the G-League team he was on last season.

You don’t get to be man of the match if your team gets walloped, so Jimmy Butler claims the award:

Like A Good Neighbor, Chris Paul Is There

CP3 isn’t James Harden. But in Harden’s accent, Paul can score like him, going for 37 points on 13-of-29, all while dishing 11 assists, including a few to Eric Gordon, whose 30 on 11-of-23 powered the Rockets to a 121-112 smackdown of the Trail Blazers.

Houston had 17 offensive rebounds to Portland’s six, helping to make possible a furious pace in which the Rockets hit 45-of-100 from the field.

Throw in 12-of-38 of those from three-point land and you’ve got your recipe for winning a shootout.

Portland got 29 from Damian Lillard and 24 from C.J. McCollum, but they ran into a lot of the same problems the Thunder did; their backcourt combined to shoot 18-of-32; the rest of the team was 22-of-51, a difference of 56.3 percent against 43.1.

Highlights from the man of the match, trying to keep the Rockets afloat without their superstar:

A Shocking Result In Oakland

Kevin Durant had 40 points for the Warriors, who were without Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson at home against the Clippers.

However, Durant’s efforts to put his team on his shoulders and carry them fell flat on its face when Lou Williams went for 50, abusing Shaun Livingston defensively and scoring at will to the tune of 16-of-27 from the field, 8-of-16 from long range, and 10-of-10 from the line.

Tyrone Wallace had 22 off the bench for the Clips, who shot 49.5 percent from the field and 45.8 from beyond the arc.

This was the kind of loss that means nothing in the grand scheme, since the Warriors had only one of their three primary scoring threats. But it got Williams onto the highlight reel:

Lightning Round!

Leave it to the Indiana Pacers to lose a winnable game against a team that’s not as good as its record; Miami won 114-106 as Hassan Whiteside had his way with Indiana’s weak rebounding; Whiteside had 15 boards to go with his 16 points.

Eight guys played for the Heat; seven were in double figures scoring, led by Goran Dragic‘s 20, as Miami claimed their sixth straight win:

The Bulls needed two overtimes and eight three-pointers by Lauri Markkanen, whose 33 points powered them past the Knicks. New York hit 50 percent of their shots, but they fell just short.

Chicago gets the 122-119 win and the Finn gets the highlights:

Dirk Nowitzki continues to defy age, going for 19 points, supporting the team in a 115-111 road win against the Charlotte Hornets. Harrison Barnes led the way with 25:

The Nets have had plenty of games where they haven’t even topped 100 lately; they have gone below the century mark in four of their last five.

Trouble was, when they scored 80 this time, Detroit scored 114 behind 22 points and 20 boards on 9-of-10 shooting from Andre Drummond:

Orlando is atrocious, and that fact made possible a 26-point game from Giannis Antetokounmpo on 10-of-15 shooting while leading the Bucks to a 110-103 win in Milwaukee. The Bucks as a team shot 55.6 percent, overcoming a 14-8 turnover deficit via efficient use of the possessions where they didn’t cough it up:

New Orleans had a chance to go two games over .500, but they instead dropped to 20-20 on the strength of 28 from Tyreke Evans, 21 from Marc Gasol, and 20 from JaMychal Green. Memphis won 105-102, getting their sixth win in their last 29 games after winning seven in their first 11, and the finish was spectacular:

And finally, all the proof you need that the Nuggets are pathetic on days other than Friday and Saturday came with Atlanta’s 110-97 win over Denver on Wednesday. Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 19, as Atlanta shot 50 percent as a team against Denver’s 40 percent.

Highlights:

It’s Thursday, and that means another Is He Any Good, as we go to Miami and ask questions of a certain Slovenian’s stat lines to find out what they say. Stay tuned for that, and thanks for reading!