Russell Westbrook, Dennis Schroder combine for 25 assists as Thunder beat Pistons 123-110
Moving at that speed down the court, Russell Westbrook shouldn’t have been able to spin on a dime the way he did. He shouldn’t have been able to throw a no-look pass over his head behind him in the process. And then it shouldn’t have landed perfectly in Steven Adams’ hands for an uncontested dunk.
Westbrook does a lot of things no one should be able to do. In the Thunder's 123-110 win over the Pistons on Friday, all that did happen.
“I saw (Adams) when I got the rebound,” Westbrook said. “I’m just glad he kept running.”The Thunder’s two point guards, Westbrook starting and Schroder leading the second unit, sparked one of OKC’s most complete games since the All-Star break. The pair combined for 25 assists, and both finished the night with double-doubles. Schroder scored 14 points and Westbrook 19. With his first three assists of the game, Westbrook also clinched a triple-double average for the season, making this the third season he has done so. Speaking of things no one should be able to do.
It came against the Pistons (39-40), who are still jockeying for a sure playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. With Friday’s victory at Chesapeake Energy Arena, the Thunder (46-33) won two consecutive games for just the second time since the All-Star break.
“It was our identity,” Schroder said.
The most flashy play of the night — Westbrook’s behind-the-head pass — started in transition, the Thunder offense’s biggest strength.
“I think when those guys get a head of steam,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said of Westbrook and Schroder, “and they can see the floor and it’s opened up, they have an idea of, OK, if the defense rotates where they’re going to go with it.”
Two minutes into the second quarter, Schroder drove to the basket and tossed a no-look pass to Paul George, who made the layup en route to a team-high 30 points. Three possessions later, he bounced a pass through traffic to Markieff Morris for a dunk.
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After Westbrook returned to the game that period, he assisted Schroder on his one make from 3-point range. Morris drove under the basket and kicked a pass out to Westbrook at the top of the arc. Westbrook quickly made the extra pass, and Schroder drained the 3-pointer.
Schroder motioned as if he was sucking his thumb and pointed up to the sky. His son, Dennis Schroder Jr., was born just before the All-Star break and was in the building Friday.
Schroder and Westbrook played most of the fourth quarter together. With five minutes left in the game, Schroder switched onto forward Blake Griffin, who led the Pistons with 45 points. He stayed in front of Griffin until Adams could rotate over to help contest his shot. Griffin missed, and Schroder ended up with the ball in his hands.
He sprinted down the court and tossed a lob to Jerami Grant. His dunk made the basket sway.
“Just moving without the ball,” Schroder said of what his teammates did to allow him and Westbrook to be creative in transition. “Drive, try to cut, lob passes, it was all open.”
The Thunder scored 16 fast-break points and converted on all but of those opportunities.