Next to the 2014 definition of ‘on fire’ is a picture of Russell Westbrook, who continues to be the NBA’s mr. Points-per-minute as a starter and leading figure on the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 98-75 win over the Charlotte Hornets.
Westbrook needed only 25 minutes to score 29 points on 11-of-21 from the field and is averaging 28.6 points in less than 32 minutes a night. He has scored 28 points or more in nine consecutive games and is shooting 46.9% from the field this season, looking a lot better in most games when it comes to his shot selection, which has led to an increased number of free throws, competing with the NBA’s best (James Harden and Dwight Howard), going to the line 9.5 times a game.
The Hornets, despite their recent good form which just so happened to be coinciding with the absence of Lance Stephenson looked awful early and never really tried changing things in the second half. They shot an embarrassing 28.7% from the field, and not a single player from the lineup scored more than 9 points. Brian Roberts made the most of an entire half of garbage time with 17 points in 19 minutes. Marvin Williams with 11 points was the only other player to score in double figures.
Unlike their Christmas win in San Antonio, Westbrook didn’t get too many help from his teammates. There was no need for someone to really step up. It seemed like defense and Westbrook serving as a one-man vanguard did the trick. Serge Iabka finished with 13 points and 14 boards while Anthony Morrow continued his hot shooting week with 11 points and three 3-pointers. Now at 15-16 and two consecutive wins, the Thunder are 2 games behind 8th in the West (Phoenix Suns), hoping Westbrook continues his rampage that goes hand in hand with surprising efficiency.