The Thunder were down 10 to the Orlando Magic in the fourth quarter, and then Russell Westbrook entered the game at the 7:45 mark and took over, only as Westbrook can do. During that seven-minute stretch, Westbrook hit eight shots, including three three-pointers, giving him 19 points in the fourth quarter to bring the Thunder back.
Mike Bossy Elite Jersey After grabbing a rebound off a Nikola Vucevic missed free throw, Westbrook pushed the ball up court, hitting a three-pointer with seven seconds left in the game to tie it at 102 and eventually send it into overtime. Westbrook ended regulation with 50 points. Look at the difficulty of this shot.
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Westbrook hit a driving bucket the possession before that took less than four seconds off the clock.
This isn’t the first time Westbrook has hit a late three to send a game into overtime against the Orlando. He did the same thing last season.
There was another source of volatility: depth, or lack thereof. There wasn’t much of a rotation in the front six, and Toledo’s per-quarter rankings were … telling: 45th in the first quarter, 17th in the second, 83rd in the third, 118th in the fourth.
And in the games in which Toledo’s offense was either particularly explosive or turnover-prone (or both), the defense had to face extra snaps and didn’t handle that well.
Will that change? It’s hard to guarantee it. Only six linemen and four linebackers made more than even six tackles, and three of those combined 10 players are gone. That’s not bad, but if defensive coordinator Brian George — the engineer of an awesome 2017 Kent State defense that ranked 19th in Def. S&P+ — is going to open up the rotation a bit, it might have to involve some youngsters.