Westbrook scores 37, Lillard drops 51, as OKC win pivotal Western Conference clash

Oaklahoma City Thunder

Point guards stole the show on Thursday as Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard both went off. Lillard scored a game high 51 points on 15-28 shooting, chipping in nine assists. Westbrook battled with Lillard all night, having a monster night with 37 points of his own on 14-28 shooting, grabbing seven rebounds and five assists. Paul George pushed OKC over the finish line on the night; With 32 points and 14 rebounds, George represented the difference-maker between the two teams, as OKC was able to get the win in overtime.

This win had some  big implications in the Western Conference, splitting the fourth place tie between the Thunder and the Blazers. With the win, OKC moves back into third place in the west, a half-game ahead of the Rockets, and one game ahead of the Blazers. The Thunder are just three and a half games back from the second place Nuggets, and have 17 games to make up that ground. As of now, OKC would get home court advantage guaranteed in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, and would be matched up with the sixth seeded Utah Jazz, a rematch of last year’s first round matchup for the Thunder.

Despite sitting third in the west, OKC still has a very tough run in for their last few weeks of action. Out of there last 17 games, the Thunder still have to play the Jazz, Warriors, Pacers, Raptors x2, Nuggets, Rockets, and Bucks. This is far from an easy ride to the end of the season. This remaining schedule will dictate where OKC places in the west, as well as representing a measuring stick on how competitive the Thunder can be in the postseason. If they can finish strong, there is no reason as to why they can’t make a real run this postseason.