The return of Foreman Scotty

As I expected, former Thunder coach Scott Brooks got a tremendous ovation from the current Thunder fans. As I didn’t expect, the Washington Wizards came back from a double-digit deficit early on to tie the game after three quarters and take the lead early in the fourth. Eight minutes into the fourth quarter, the Wizards were up seven, 97-90, the Thunder having scored a mere six points in those eight minutes against Brooks’ small, smaller, smallest-ball deployment. And then OKC seemed to wake up. Just inside the 2:00 mark, the Thunder had pulled to within one at 101-100; OKC called a timeout with 17.6 left and the Wizards up three. Then Russell Westbrook, who hadn’t made a trey all night, made a trey. Washington had 8.5 seconds to respond. Otto Porter had a clean look as time expired, but the ball refused to go in. Something happened between the horn and the start of overtime, and I’m not sure what it is, but in a minute and a quarter, the Thunder had knocked down eight points to the Wizards’ zip. Brooks promptly brought back Marcin Gortat, who set up Bradley Beal for five consecutive points, shrinking the Thunder lead to six; in the last minute, two free throws from Westbrook, two from Jerami Grant, and two more from Westbrook iced the deal. Oklahoma City 126, Washington 115, Westbrook went over to congratulate Brooks, and that was that.

The Wizards sent up a lot of scorers: all five starters hit double digits, as did two reserves, and both Gortat (12 points, 11 rebounds) and John Wall (15 points, 15 assists) posted double-doubles. Beal ended up with 31 points. Washington did claim the rebounding advantage, by one (48-47), but was edged in most of the other statistical categories. Meanwhile, in the least surprising news of the day, Westbrook had a triple-double, 35-14-11, despite shooting 12-35 (!) from the floor. (Factor out Westbrook and the Thunder shot 57 percent.) And unusually for the Thunder, all five starters made it to double figures. Victor Oladipo, not unusually, came up with 25.

The Pelicans will arrive here from New Orleans on Sunday. After six games in nine days, I should think the Thunder can use the rest.







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