Saturday, January 29, 2011
Thunder thrive when working overtime
By ESPN Stats & Info
The Oklahoma City Thunder are still perfect in overtime this season, thanks to a pair of herculean statistical efforts.
Russell Westbrook matched LeBron James for the NBA lead in triple-doubles with his third of the season. He finished with 35 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists.
A check of Basketball-Reference.com shows that he’s only the third player in the last 25 seasons to hit all three of those statistical markers in a game, along with James (twice) and Jason Kidd. But of this elite trio, he's the only one who did so in a win.
NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant poured in 40 points -- the fourth time this season he has scored 40 or more, breaking a tie with Monta Ellis for the league lead. It is Durant's second straight game with at least 40 points, the second player with back-to-back 40-point games this season (Dwyane Wade is the other).
The Thunder are 5-0 in overtime games this season, the best record in the NBA in extra time and the longest single-season overtime win streak in Thunder franchise history (including their time as the Seattle Supersonics).
Looking ahead, the last player with at least three straight 40-plus point games was Kobe Bryant, who had a run of five in a row in the 2006-07 season. Durant will get a chance at his third on Sunday against the Miami Heat.
Speaking of the Heat, our video review note of the night comes from the Heat’s 88-87 win over the Detroit Pistons.
LeBron James had a game-high 39 points, but it was how he scored them that was most impressive.
In his previous two games, James was 1-for-20 (yes, 1-for-20) from the field in plays that were deemed isolation plays. Friday, he went 7-for-12 in isolation situations, netting 16 points in that manner.
The Heat won only their second game this season that was decided by five points or fewer. They are 2-8 in such contests this season.
Elsewhere, a phenomenal one-man effort wasn’t enough for Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic.
Howard compiled 40 points and 15 rebounds in the Magic's 99-90 loss to the Chicago Bulls. That marked the fourth time this season that a player has hit those plateaus in the same game. Remarkably, in three of the four instances, the player was on the losing end.
Chicago’s good-luck charm may have been backup center Omer Asik, who had an unusual box score line. Asik went 1-for-3 from the field in 16 minutes, but had 6 rebounds and two steals. In the time he was on the floor, the Bulls outscored the Magic by 17 points. In his 32 minutes on the bench, the Magic actually had an eight-point edge.