When Russell Westbrook hobbled off the court against the Pelicans on Monday night, OKC fans had to prepare themselves for the worst. Luckily, Westbrook will likely only miss a few games with an ankle injury that’s much less serious than it looked, and it seems that the rest of the Thunder are stepping up in his absence.
Dennis Schroder, in particular, had a season-high 28 points and 7 rebounds last night in the win over the Cavaliers, holding the Cleveland team off and helping OKC get their sixth-straight win.
Schroder showed immense quickness and ability to get to the basket, along with great competency at the point and some effective outside shot selection. His play, dare I say it, was close to Westbrook-esque. That’s all the team can ask for as they wait for their star to return.
It’s a great sign for OKC that they have guys who can fill in the gaps. Schroder is no small contributor, even with Westbrook in the game–he’s currently averaging a solid 16.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 5 assists on the season, making him a formidable role player for the Thunder.
The Houston Rockets? No Problem.
With Westbrook’s second absence looming against the (supposed) Western Conference powerhouse Houston Rockets, a win on Thursday night was far less certain. But Schroder came through yet again–along with the rest of Westbrook’s supporting cast–scoring 14 points and dishing out 5 assists in the win.
It was a well-rounded team effort from the Thunder and a paltry one from the Rockets. Carmelo Anthony in particular had an underwhelming return to OKC, and in the brutally honest words of Deadspin’s Lauren Theisen, “The Thunder fans cheered when Carmelo Anthony first entered the game, but they definitely would have booed him tonight if he was still wearing an OKC uniform.”
OKC is now on a seven-game win streak. They face the Luka Doncic and the Mavericks tomorrow and will be looking for their eighth in a row.
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