What. A. Game.
Led by Russell Westbrook and his well-known friend, the triple-double, the Oklahoma City Thunder squeaked by the Toronto Raptors in a 132-125 shootout.
A game that saw three ejections in a matter of zero seconds, it’s safe to say Raptors fans were a bit agitated with the officiating. In fact, the arena was so worried about the referee’s safety, they had multiple security guards surrounding them as they exited the court.
— Francisco Rios (@cisco0602) March 18, 2018
A lot going on at the end of Thunder-Raptors 👀 pic.twitter.com/yovBUG6gQW
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) March 18, 2018
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However, let’s not get things twisted, the Thunder 100 percent deserved to win this game. Not only did Russell Westbrook have a 37 point triple-double, but all five Thunder starters scored in double figures, three of which scoring 20+. And besides Westbrook, Steven Adams really showed people what he is capable of. It’s hard to remember a game this season that had a more significant mismatch than Jonas Valanciunas attempting to guard Steven Adams. The most telling stat from this matchup was that Adams was a plus 20 on the court while Valanciunas was a minus 12. To take an even deeper look at the stats, DeMar DeRozan was a minus 21 on the floor, which is shocking considering he is their entire team runs through him offensively.
And at the end of the day, this is nothing to worry about for the Raptors. They are perhaps the leagues hottest team and still hold the number one seed in the east. At this point, their entire focus needs to shift to the postseason and making sure they can finally show people that they can get it done when it matters most. But for the Thunder, this was a huge win. As they continue to fight for home-court advantage in the playoffs, every win matters for OKC. So to beat one of the leagues, best teams on the road shows that when focused, the Thunder can hang with the best of them.
- Once again, Jonas Valanciunas could end up being a significant liability on defense in the playoffs.
- Carmelo Anthony is a fantastic third or fourth option when he isn’t forcing shots.
- Russell Westbrook can get a triple-double wherever and whenever he wants.
- The relationship between referees and players/coaches truly reached an all-time low last night.
- Teams can play virtually no defense and not a word will be said about it.