Published: Sun, December 24, 2017
Medicine | By Rogelio Lindsey

Westbrook drains game-winner to defeat Hawks

Westbrook drains game-winner to defeat Hawks

Carmelo Anthony dropped 24 points and drilled a season-high seven three-pointers Friday night as the Oklahoma City Thunder escaped with a 120-117 win over the Atlanta Hawks, and he admitted after the game he's accepted that it's best for the team if he embraces more off-ball responsibilities within the flow of the offense. Steven Adams shrugged off another eye-watering low blow to play a prominent role in the Oklahoma City Thunder's third straight National Basketball Association victory on the back of more late-game heroics from Russell Westbrook.

And here's a different angle along with the clock.

It was the ideal ending to a masterful performance that also included 15 assists, seven rebounds, and just three turnovers over 36 minutes.

"You've got to have fun and embrace the game", Westbrook told reporters after the Thunder scored 107 points for just the second time in their past 10 games. "They backed off, Russ had an easy open opportunity and Russ is as good as anybody when it's closing time".

He's averaging 30.7 points on 19.3 shots during that stretch and has taken only five total 3s. Ersan Ilyasova added 22 points for the Hawks, who went 15 of 32 from 3-point range.

"It's going to be a special game for us, the way we lost in OKC", the former Thunder starter said. The Jazz enter this contest with a 3-7 record in their last 10 games and a 12-5 mark at home. Anthony's 3-pointer with 5:34 left gave Oklahoma City a 104-97 lead. Without a timeout, the Hawks could manage only a desperation heave at the buzzer.

But the Thunder scored 102 points in the surrounding three quarters. It led by 16 in the second quarter, only to see Atlanta take a four-point lead in the fourth. They broke a 28-28 tie with a 14-2 run to start the quarter, with Raymond Felton and George each hitting two 3-pointers. He hoisted 12 3-pointers, scored 24 points and operated nearly exclusively as a catch-and-shoot threat on the wing.

But it wasn't just those mistakes that gave the Thunder struggles.

"Our team has come to play", said coach Quin Snyder after the game.

NBA All-Star Paul George has only recently arrived in Oklahoma City, but judging by the sounds of things, his time in OKC could already be limited. Donovan called timeout to set up a play, with George inbounding the ball to Westbrook, hesitating for a second and then sprinting across the face of Westbrook's defender.

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