The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Miami Heat, 97-85, on Monday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Ernes Kanter led the Thunder with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Russell Westbrook, who struggled early in the game, still managed to contribute 14 points and 11 assists. Victor Oladipo had 17 while rookie Domantas Sabonis added a season-high 15 points along with 10 rebounds.
It is very noticeable that Westbrook did not explode as much on the offensive end. However, his passing skills and outstanding plays helped the Thunder gain as much as a 22-point lead in the third quarter.
“He’s always looking for his teammates,” Kanter said. “He’s looking to score, but he knows that he’s going to get double-teamed, triple-teamed. They cannot guard him. There’s no one guy in the league that can guard him 1-on-1. He’s making himself better, and he’s making everybody else better for the team.”
Also, Thunder managed to stop Hassan Whiteside from dominating under the basket with the help of Steven Adams, who showed an impressive performance on the defensive end. Whiteside, who is currently averaging 20 points and 14.2 rebounds, only finished with five points on 1-of-9 shooting and 12 rebounds.
Russell Westbrook commended Adams for playing well against Whiteside.
“Steven did a good job of buckling down, using his size, using his ability to be able to use his body and his strength to match,” Westbrook said.
Aside from Whiteside, Justise Winslow struggled once again with his efficiency, posting 2-of-13 shooting. Dion Waiters played his first game against the Thunder and was applauded by the crowd during pregame introductions. However, he failed to impress and only scored two points on 1-of-9 shooting. James Johnson, who only came off the bench, led the Heat with 18 points, six rebounds, and two blocks in 25 minutes on the court.
The Miami Heat are set to face Dwyane Wade and the Chicago Bulls on Thursday at the American Airlines Arena while the Oklahoma City Thunder will host the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.
Photo courtesy: MikeD/Wikimedia Commons
Video courtesy: Youtube/NBA Conference