Per usual, Russell Westbrook did his part in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 119-117 triple-overtime victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night. He chipped in 27 points, 18 rebounds, 15 assists in 52 minutes and dished the game-winning assist, but ultimately Oklahoma City Thunder forward Andre Roberson — not Paul George or Carmelo Anthony — was the surprise sidekick to Westbrook in the climax.
It started out as a typical frustrating offensive night for Roberson, who only tallied four points, but wound up being the difference maker at the end of two of the three overtimes.
“that was one of the worst possessions i’ve ever seen in NBA history.”
-Jeff Van Gundy, after this Andre Roberson airball pic.twitter.com/ylNwb16KHF
— Dan Favale (@danfavale) December 16, 2017
Things really picked up in the second overtime between the Philadelphia 76ers and Oklahoma City Thunder was rife with controversy. With 1:19 remaining, Steven Adams was whistled for a foul for pushing Joel Embiid to the floor and into the legs of 76ers forward Robert Covington as he launched a 3-pointer.
Unfortunately, the foul was not ruled a shooting foul, however, an exhausted Embiid would will himself to the basket for two of his 34 points (on 11-of-20 shooting from the field and 12 makes out of 13 tries from the free-throw line) in 49 minutes. It was a performance that could have counted as a back-to-back for him under his previous minutes restriction and knotted up the score at 111.
Embiid played a pivotal defensive role in all three of the Thunder’s overtime possessions. At the end of the first overtime, he rejected Westbrook as he drove the lane to keep the score cemented at 102-102.
On the final possession of overtime No. 2, Roberson missed a bunny, which would have put the Thunder up by two points with fewer than two seconds remaining. Time appeared to expire, but the officials review revealed that Dario Saric had collected the rebound and called a timeout with 1.2 ticks left.
The replay also showed that the refs missed a blatant foul by Embiid, who reached out and slapped Roberson across the face.
Westbrook kicked off the third overtime, by turning on the turbo in transition and acting as the hammer to Saric’s nail and flushing a demoralizing dunk over the Sixers forward.
Russ. Doesn’t. Get. Tired. pic.twitter.com/B05OZFFZuo
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 16, 2017
Roberson would be get redemption to his second overtime no-call and miss by going up and under on Embiid with fewer than 9.7 seconds remained on the clock to break the tie and give Oklahoma City what would turn out to be a permanent 119-117 lead.
Andre Roberson gets his revenge in triple OT. That had a degree of difficult greater than 4 because of Embiid hovering. we joke about Roberson, but give the man props.https://t.co/JiyCZOB3fY
— DJ Dunson (@CerebralSportex) December 16, 2017
Philadelphia had an opportunity to tie or go for the win. The Thunder, however, clamped down defensively, forcing J.J. Redick to heave a 29-foot 3-pointer under duress. Patrick Patterson got a fingertip on Redick’s 30-foot trey and Westbrook snagged the rebound and was intentionally fouled. Westbrook missed his two free throws, but without another timeout, the Sixers could not advance after obtaining the rebound.
Friday night’s insane triple-overtime back-and-forth game may have been the best of the year, and if you asked LeBron James, he would probably agree.
LeBron was all of us watching that game pic.twitter.com/LxJE31RF36
— SB Nation (@SBNation) December 16, 2017
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